Behaviour on roundabouts in Switzerland

In an EU country we come from we are taught to reduce speed before entering the roundabout to be able to evaluate the situation and stay in control of the vehicle. As far as I know in many EU/non-EU/non-European even countries it’s customary.
Yet in Switzerland it seems like they hate dropping the speed when entering roundabouts, ie. instructors seem to teach to almost not drop the speed and also we get honked whenever we do slow down.
Is it something special about Switzerland?

Reduce speed by how much? Some people just stop at the roundabout for no reason. Look around and then spend ages getting going.

I expect you should be looking before you get to the roundabout and if you see it is clear, you can keep going hardly reducing speed (if at all).


ie. dropping to 60kmh from 80kmh? would it be too much?

It depends on the roundabout, but I suspect most roundabouts cannot be safely navigated at 80km/h.


I wonder if it is Swiss or foreign drivers who honk, as it doesn’t fit the stereotype of a tolerant pacient Swiss driver =)
Another situation we’re facing is in our parking, that is very narrow and badly designed (many complains about it on Google Reviews, ie. people scratch their rims etc.) - we’re going slowly but within limits officially imposed in the parking and we get honked by a car we’re blocking, then when a car gets a chance to take over, it angrily accelerates and hits borders twice… What’s their point, do they expect us to drive this way as well? =) If one honks at someone inexperienced it only increases stress levels, it is not giving a lesson really…

If you are often being honked at everywhere, I suspect it is just you! Since I’ve never been honked at while driving except when rightly so for being a little too aggressive!


If it’s a big sweeping roundabout with good visibility and no cars coming then you don’t have to reduce your speed THAT much if you are taking an exit pretty much straight on and not having to go all the way around, but then again, this is true of anywhere, not just Switzerland. The roundabout on the dual carriageway near my parents in the UK has a roundabout you can easily enter and exit at 40-60 km/h, if it’s clear.

Braking to a crawl would definitely result in a lot of honking.

Around here it is very unusual to hear anyone honk. Flashing of lights is the chosen method.

I’d ignore them.

Of course you observe what is happening in advance of arriving and adjust your speed accordingly. If you do it right you can avoid coming to a full stop most times.

The law requires drivers signal their exit from a roundabout which I think is almost useless. You are signalling what you are doing rather than what you are going to do.

I signal my intentions when approaching one and my exit to comply with the law.


There are 2 kinds of roundabouts. The useful ones that allow to see cars coming from any direction. And the ones where a wannabe artist puts “art” on them that make you guess if another car is already driving around or not. I drive around 50-60 kmh on the ones with good visibility and no traffic around. Go down to 30-35kmh in the blind ones. 20 kmh or less in areas with lots of pedestrians and cyclists. I guess this is more or less how people drive because no one honks at me, I just merge into traffic.

About parkings, I do not understand. I’ve been tailgated (but not honked) in the underground parking. Neighbor wants to desperately drive fast among all the columns and other obstacles (including children), after leaving the parking neighbor overtakes me…5 mins later, I overtake same neighbor driving very slowly on the motorway where 120kmh is the limit, but going a bit faster is normal. I take this as a local quirk, drive fast where you can easily hurt someone and block others in a motorway with perfect driving conditions :laughing:


That is because in Switzerland centrifugal force does not exist.


The Swiss are generally engineering genies, however whoever invented the concept of two lane roundabouts on single lanes roads needs to be put up against a wall and shot. Especially because not even the Swiss use them properly.

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A few signs, like this one, would be a big help.


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Yes. The recipe to navigate them effectively is to enter “with confidence”.


The “don’t need to signal that you’re turning left round the roundabout” behaviour here is one that I’ve hated since first moving here, and still gets me occasionally. Approaching the roundabout I’m always trying to judge whether I need to slow down, and the body language of vehicles coming round towards me doesn’t always make it clear that they’re staying on, i.e. that I have to brake and give way to them. Relying on the lack of an exit signal doesn’t work either, because law or no law, very may drivers do not use their signals correctly.

So in essence it means that I’m having to make assumptions, in this case that I probably will need to slow down, which very often are not correct, and as a result I disagree with the OP - more often than not people are slowing down on approach to roundabouts when they don’t really need to.

It’s particularly difficult in French/Swiss border areas, as French drivers are taught to do almost exactly the opposite, they will indicate left on approach and once they’ve entered the roundabout even if they’re going straight on, and rarely change to indicate right to exit early enough to be of any real use to other drivers.

So it’s all a bit of a lottery and the only way to survive is to assume that you will always need to slow down.

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Same here in the Fatherland. As soon as a new roundabout is installed you can be sure as an amen in church that on the very next weekend you will find tire tracks over the hump where some idiot has launched hisself into low earth orbit.

We have a nasty one near us. 2 lanes of traffic from all directions, but from one they made it so that both lanes can be turn left ones. It seems to have been changed to try and help the traffic flow a bit better, if it that is the case then it’s failed dismally as it still backs up badly in rush periods. So you now have to guess whether not one, but two cars might be turning left because rarely do they signal as they would in the UK that they plan to go all the way around.

Going to have to suffer it again tomorrow when we go to get the winter tyres changed over to the summer ones. :crazy_face:

Signalling on roundabouts is a topic on its own but it seems to be discussed widely so I omitted it. As I understand it’s recommended to use the “left” indicator when staying on the roundabout and it’s mandatory to use the “right” indicator when leaving the roundabout, and as I have also read the behavior differs in German/French speaking parts of Switzerland…

As for slowing down, we got honked when slowing down from 50 to 30 for example (with 50 being a max), or from 75 to 50, I don’t remember exact figures but it wasn’t a complete stop but like a proportional reduce/reasonable margin. Maybe also in Romandy drivers are more emotional? Even if the visibility is ok, navigating the curve requires one to take a lower speed to be safer…

maybe it could be the suddeness of your slowing. If you slow down by removing your foot from the gas and you glide smoothly to the roundabout - that could be very different from going full speed to the roundabout and the people behind you assuming you plan to enter it at full speed only for you to suddenly brake and force them to brake too.

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I think you may be wrong on both counts. Very few Swiss drivers indicate left either on approach or when on the roundabout, and having driven extensively across French and German speaking areas for the last 20 years I think the behaviour is pretty similar. Italian areas have their own special rules of course :wink:

As for the honking, no, this is not at all common anywhere. I could count the number of times I’ve been honked at here on the fingers of one hand (except that I can’t really remember them, so rare they are). Again, no noticeable difference n different parts of the country. So I think it must be you, and from what you describe about the car park scenario, can only assume you’re being so overcautious as to make a hazard of yourself.

One thing you might look out for is different canton registration plates. AI means “Rental car, doesn’t have a clue about Swiss driving regs, probably doesn’t know where they’re going”; ZH, outside of their own area, means “I’m better than everyone else so I don’t give a shit”; AG, or “Achtung Gefahr!” (Danger, beware) is a farmer who drives like he’s in a tractor in a field and doesn’t need to know any rules; TI means they’re going to pretend to be Italian and drive everywhere as if they’re in a Ferrari F1 car…

Tongue in cheek, of course, and a vast over-generalisation, but not entirely baseless. Anyone got any other stereotypes to share?

If it is one thing I learned when driving in Switzerland: do not trust how people are signalling, esp. on a roundabout! It is better to drive defensively and assume that all other drivers are idiots. I lost count of the number of ‘wrong’ signals. Unless the car is definitely moving to exit, I’m not trusting the exit signal as too many times I’ve seen them indicate only to realise “nope, I got the wrong exit” and keep driving while signalling the exit.

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