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What is a turbo roundabout and why does it cause fear among drivers?

>Turbo roundabouts can be stressful for many drivers. On the one hand, they’re designed to increase traffic flow and safety. On the other hand, they can be confusing and disorientating when traveling along unknown routes. In this article, we will discuss what a turbo roundabout looks like and how to navigate it.

What is a turbo roundabout?

A turbo roundabout is a type of road intersection with a specific arrangement of lanes that lead drivers directly to selected exits. As such, the need to change lanes and the risk of collisions are reduced. In road nomenclature you can also find the terms spiral roundabout or hybrid roundabout. In other words, after entering a roundabout in a specific lane, our options to leave the roundabout are limited to a specific exit or exits.

Historical aspects

The turbo roundabout is a relatively new concept. The first intersection of this type was built in the Netherlands in 1998. Although the concept of similar-type intersections had existed before, it was in the Netherlands that the turbo roundabout with its current shape was first used. Designers were looking for a way to increase safety and traffic flow at intersections with heavy traffic, where there were frequent collisions. The intersection at the exit of the A4 motorway in Prądy near Opole is considered to be the first turbo roundabout in Poland.

Advantages of the turbo roundabout

  • reducing the risk of collisions by designating specific traffic flows
  • facilitating the selection of the correct lane before entering the turbo roundabout
  • improving the flow of road traffic
  • reducing congestion and waiting in traffic jams, and thus lower fuel consumption and lower exhaust emissions
  • moderating movement of vehicles entering the intersection

What does a turbo roundabout look like?

The turbo roundabout is distinguished primarily by its unique design. It is an intersection consisting of two or more lanes separated by physical barriers. These may be islands or even curbs that prevent you from changing lanes while driving around it. As such, each lane on the turbo roundabout is designed to lead the driver directly to the selected exit. Seen from above, turbine roundabouts resemble a snail shell or a turbine from the side. Hence their characteristic name.

The turbo roundabout – how to drive to get to the right road?

The rules for moving around the turbo roundabout are very simple. However, they require drivers to be particularly careful before entering the intersection and pay attention to the signs. You should enter the turbo roundabout using the lane corresponding to the direction in which you intend to drive. This is usually quite intuitive, i.e. if you plan to turn left, you should use the left lane. It may be helpful to plan your trip in advance. The navigation may show outdated or confusing instructions regarding taking the appropriate lane before entering the turbo roundabout. 

Remember to never try to change lanes right on the roundabout. This is not only dangerous, but often impossible due to physical barriers between lanes. Pay attention to horizontal and vertical signs, and if you make a mistake, don’t panic. After leaving the roundabout, you will find the correct road.

Who has priority on the turbo roundabout?

Drivers entering a roundabout must give way to vehicles already on it. Therefore, this rule is analogous to the one that applies to traditional roundabouts. Some lanes on the roundabout start in the place where we enter. In that case, it is a completely collision-free ride. 

The traditional and turbo roundabout – a comparison

The turbo roundabout differs from traditional roundabouts primarily in the way traffic is organized. On classic roundabouts, drivers can change lanes, which can lead to collisions. The turbo roundabout eliminates this problem by directing each lane of traffic directly to a specific exit. This greatly simplifies navigation and increases safety. 

Additionally, a turbo roundabout is often more predictable for drivers, resulting in smoother traffic flow. When we are driving along an unknown route, a turbo roundabout can make it much easier for us to leave the intersection using the right exit. Among the seasonal differences, the issue of snow removal should also be mentioned. It is much easier to remove snow from traditional roundabouts than from spiral roundabouts with curbs, barriers or other types of installations.

The turbo roundabout – not that scary after all

The turbo roundabout is an innovative and effective solution for improving road traffic. In addition, it reduces the risk of collisions and can make it easier to find the right path on unfamiliar roads. Just pay attention before entering the turbo roundabout and you will surely take the right route. Also remember not to blindly look at the instructions indicated by the navigation, as they may be misleading or hard to understand.


What is the correct way to drive around a turbo roundabout?

Before you enter the turbo roundabout, pay attention to the signs and choose the lane according to the direction you want to go in. 

Is a turbine roundabout safer than a traditional one?

Yes, the turbine roundabout significantly reduces the risk of collisions. 

What are the main challenges associated with the turbo roundabout?

The main challenges are keeping them in proper condition during snowfall and meeting specific technical requirements at the design stage.