If there’s one thing most motorists can agree on, it’s that roundabouts can really drive you round the bend — but which one in Aberdeen seems to be the worst?
Despite being designed to keep traffic moving and ease congestion, they often cause many a driver’s headache.
Maybe it’s the surprising number of malfunctioning indicators that grind your gears as you try to guess which way people are going.
Perhaps you’re simply fed up getting stuck scanning around frantically for the hint of an opening while rushing home after a hard day’s work, desperate to put your feet up.
And with 55 roundabouts in Aberdeen, there are quite a few out there to test your patience.
Here are the five roundabouts that made our naughty list, in order of how much of a pain in the (bottle)neck they are…
5. Woolmanhill Roundabout
This roundabout has earned itself a spot in the top five because three of its four arms have traffic lights immediately after.
The roundabout connects to Denburn Road, making it one of the busiest routes to Union Square and the train station (especially now the new bus gates have blocked other routes, but that’s another story).
While the set of traffic lights near Gilcomston Steps isn’t as bad, the other two are a bit different.
The one on Denburn Road is somewhat hidden by bushes. Drivers can’t see pedestrians waiting at the lights as they come around, and people waiting to cross towards St Andrew Street are left peering round to see if it’s safe to cross.
The set of traffic lights heading toward the Denburn car park is also around a bend and hidden by trees.
Trying to cross these two roads when cars are whizzing off the roundabout in your direction can be quite unnerving.
And, it can be just as alarming for some drivers when they come round the bend to see someone crossing forcing them to hit the brakes.
4. Garthdee roundabout(s)
The Garthdee Roundabout has four roads connected to it and looks simple enough at first glance, but it has still earned itself one of the top spots.
It’s an extremely busy roundabout, although that doesn’t seem to bother the family of rabbits who have happily colonised the grassy island.
The A92 runs through the roundabout, connecting to the Bridge of Dee — leading drivers to Kincorth, Banchory, and Stonehaven.
Meanwhile, the area is busy with RGU students and residents, as well as shoppers heading to ASDA, B&Q, Boots and Sainsbury’s.
At rush hour, and despite the four hard-to-miss “KEEP CLEAR” signs, the roundabout can become clogged up with the floods of people trying to get home after a long day at uni, work, or a stressful weekly shopping trip.
Patience certainly can wear thin while waiting in the tailbacks, and there are often more than a few angry beeps blasted out at hometime.
Turning onto the A92 (in the direction of Kincorth) the two lanes very quickly reduce to one.
That’s because drivers can make another left turn to head to Riverside Drive or they can go straight and over the Bridge of Dee. For those who don’t really know the area, this can be confusing, again leading to some angry beeping.
This area was in absolute chaos when the bridge was closed earlier this year.
Another problem with the Garthdee Roundabout is that it leads to quite a few others, which can often slow things down. There can be a bit of a struggle to get in the lane you need, especially when there’s a lot of traffic.
3. Six Roads Roundabout
This tight roundabout in Hilton is named aptly because it has six roads attached to it: Back Hilton Road, Hilton Street, Hilton Drive, Rosehill Drive, Cairncry Road and Westburn Drive.
But its awkward shape has earned this busy roundabout third place.
Drivers can exit directly onto Rosehill Drive easily enough (if you keep an eye on the traffic trying to get onto the same road as you from the right), getting onto it from that road is a different matter.
Getting to the roundabout from Rosehill Drive can be tricky. You come to a junction with Hilton Drive which is pretty close to the roundabout.
This makes for a tight squeeze, with drivers heading towards the roundabout from Hilton Drive making timings difficult while others are coming off the roundabout.
This is when malfunctioning indicators can really cause some mayhem.
You can get stuck at the junction wondering if other drivers are about to turn left to go up Rosehill Drive or if they’re going to head straight to Hilton Drive but just haven’t had the chance to cancel their indicator.
Again, the awkward shape of the roundabout comes into play here as people on the inside lane try to exit the roundabout while there are other drivers on the outside lane.
It’s all about timing — and making full use of your mirrors and (the sometimes forgotten about) indicators.
2. Queen’s Cross
The west end roundabout also features six arms, and the two lanes encircle a very tight island where a statue of Queen Victoria stoically looks down upon the drivers.
Although it is another busy roundabout, the biggest problem here is the changing lane rules — some left lanes are left only, while others are left and straight ahead.
Queen’s Road (the B9119), Albyn Place and Swithin Street all have left lanes directing drivers left or straight ahead. On these roads, the right lane is for turning right only.
Fountainhall Road and Carden Place both have left-only lanes, meanwhile, the right is for straight ahead and turning right.
Another thing to point out that makes this roundabout so awkward is that the Carden Place and Albyn Place arms are so close together they practically meet at a point.
Because of this, there is a little opening ahead of the roundabout for drivers wanting to turn left from Carden Place onto Albyn Place.
This can be quite tight, and timing is key as drivers will have to watch out for other vehicles exiting the roundabout onto Albyn Place too.
There seems to be a debate about if this is actually a roundabout.
But, at a colossal 2.5 acres in size, it became known as Scotland’s biggest roundabout, and allegedly Europe’s biggest urban roundabout, when it was built in 1977.
It has five arms, one of which leads on from the A96 taking people traveling from the Inverness direction into the city centre.
But, the lane layout is the biggest issue with this major city centre roundabout — helping it gain the top spot.
Drivers approaching the roundabout from the A96 Causewayend are faced with two lanes. The road markings show the left lane is for turning left or going straight ahead, but the right lane is for right only.
This poses no problem for drivers wanting to turn left up to Old Aberdeen, or going straight ahead at West North Street in the direction of Morrisons or the beach.
However, once you pass the first exit, the arrow on the outside lane starts to point straight ahead (to Morrisons) or right to access Gallowgate.
The confusion starts here when people in the inside lane try to turn left onto Gallowgate, while others are on the outside lane trying to access the same exit or carry on to Hutcheon Street in the direction of Lidl.
And at 5pm, the roundabout becomes a bottleneck as drivers desperate to get home after a busy day at work clog up Gallowgate and even block Spring Gardens.
Do you agree with our top five? Read on to take part in our poll and let us know about any other notorious roundabouts in the comment section below
An honourable mention for the Haudagain — a reformed roundabout?
It was once dubbed the worst of its kind in all of Europe — with one national newspaper describing it as the “deepest circle of hell”.
The infamous roundabout, which bisects the A92 Stonehaven to Blackdog road and the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness route, frustrated drivers for decades.
In 2017, ground was officially broken to improve the traffic flow in the area, but it was a long and gruelling road to competition in 2022.
On May 16, 2022, more than 180ft of new dual carriageway was finally opened at the Haudagain. The new route takes vehicles between the A92 North Anderson Drive and the A96 Auchmill Road, totally bypassing the Haudagain.
Seven months later, we asked our readers if they thought the improvement scheme had made a difference.
Transport Scotland will carry out a more “detailed evaluation” in 2025 to put the improvements to the test.
What did our readers think?
We asked our readers to vote for the roundabout they thought should take the top spot as Aberdeen’s worst roundabout.
To find out the results of our poll, where 520 people voted for their most-hated roundabout, check out this article: