How to do Hopgrove

Features : Hopgrove – A64 fromLeeds to A1237 to Harrogate

Many years ago, when I was a new instructor, I noticed some of my clients were failing tests for doing the same things wrong, in the same places. I decided I should make sure my clients understood these tricky “features” before going for their test and hence my “Features List” was born.

Rather than teaching the features themselves though, I endeavour to teach a methodology for dealing with them that can then be transferred to other, similar situations. Here’s the next feature in my list;

Location

Two large roundabouts at Hopgrove, North East of York, heading from A64 (York Bypass) to A1237 (York Outer Ring Road)

Common Faults

  • Late lane change into the Thirsk/Harrogate lane
  • Missing the lane change completely
  • Speed too high
  • Crossing to Scarborough lane on first roundabout
  • Incorrect lane between roundabouts
  • Wandering into the right hand lane whilst negotiation second roundabout
  • Failing to stop for red traffic lights on exit to second roundabout

How To Do It Right

The key here – and on other, complex traffic lighted roundabouts – is information. See it early, process it early and act on it as soon as is appropriate. This is much easier when actively searching for information, rather than “just noticing” it.

  • The first information here is the “Roundabout/Reduce Speed Now” at the far end of the layby about half a mile before you get to the first roundabout. Coming off the gas here means your speed should be down nicely by the time you get to the 50mph speed limit sign, leaving minimal braking required.
  • By the time you get to the 50mph speed limit sign just before the bridge, the three big green direction signs are just becoming visible through the bridge.
  • To choose the correct lane, the key is to process the signs in the order in which they are presented;
    1. Depiction of roundabout telling you Harrogate, Thirsk and York are all to the left, first exit at the roundabout.
    2. Lane Sign on the left, often partially hidden by trees – telling you for Harrogate, Thirsk and York, you need the left lane
      As soon as you see this, you want a left signal on, to cross into the (new) left lane.
    3. Once you’ve crossed into the left lane, the Lane Signs on the Gantry overhead tell you (counting from left) Lane 1 is for York, Lane 2 for Harrogate and Thirsk, and Lanes 3 and 4 are both for Scarborough and Malton. You should keep to the right in the left lane so that when the left lane splits you naturally flow into the correct lane for Harrogate and Thirsk.
      This lane information is also marked on the road surface, but you can see the signs (and act on them) from further away.
  • Note as you approach the roundabout, both lanes one and two have turn left arrows painted on the road surface. This means both lanes go to the left, avoiding the main part of the roundabout.
  • As you approach the traffic lights, pay particular attention to speed and gear, remembering that even if the lights are green, they could change, and if they don’t, you still need an appropriate speed to negotiate the bend to the left.
  • As you proceed onto the section between the two roundabouts, the Harrogate lane splits into two. This should come as no surprise as there is a big, green direction sign that tells you this. Standard driving procedure dictates that when there are two lanes both marked for the direction you want, you should choose the left of the two unless overtaking slower moving traffic. This then will set you into the middle lane as you approach the second roundabout.
  • As you negotiate the second roundabout, taking the second exit, be aware that there are two parallel lanes here and you need to keep left. The easiest way to do this is to follow the lane markings on your left, as the lane markings between lanes are faded and difficult to see. Also be aware that there is another set of traffic lights just before you leave the roundabout, which may change to red as you arrive.

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