TIPS: Traffic circles and rules of the road

There are a lot of traffic circles on Johannesburg’s main and residential roads and many motorists pass through traffic circles at some point while driving.

Experienced and inexperienced motorists sometimes get confused on what to do when they stop at a traffic circle. The general rule is that any vehicle entering a traffic circle must give way to any vehicles, bicycles or motorcycles already in the circle or approaching from the right.

The rules for traffic circles in South Africa are as follows:


Slow down and give way to other vehicles that cross any Yield line before you do.

Proceed in a clockwise direction around the painted island, without driving on it.

In the words of the official legislation:

Indicates to the driver of a vehicle approaching a mini circle that he or she shall yield right of way to any vehicle which will cross any yield line at such junction before him or her and which, in the normal course of events, will cross the path of such driver’s vehicle and that the driver shall move in a clockwise direction within such junction and attempt not to encroach on the mini-circle.


You must obey traffic circle rules at the roundabout.

In the words of the official legislation:

Indicates to the driver of a vehicle that he or she shall move in a clockwise direction at the junction ahead and he or she shall yield right of way to traffic approaching from the right, within the roundabout, where such vehicles are so close as to constitute a danger or potential danger.

The official regulations in South Africa leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the finer aspects of driving, and they do not, in fact, address the situation as described in the sketch provided (below).

Mpho Moloto

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