THEY are the traffic islands that strike fear into the hearts of millions of motorists and leave drivers’ heads spinning. We’re talking of roundabouts.

The rules for navigating them are clearly laid out in the Highway Code, but they still cause plenty of confusion for those behind the wheel.

It is not helped when, for reasons including poor layout and heavy traffic, steering safely around them becomes a nerve-jangling lottery.

Recovery firm 24|7 Vehicle Rescue is putting the spotlight on rotten roundabouts by naming the 10 worst in the UK – and there are some hair-raising examples.

One of them is the Hanger Lane Gyratory in Ealing.

The firm’s spokesman, Ranjen Gohri, said: “Britain is famed for its roundabouts, especially in places such as Milton Keynes, and being able to safely negotiate them is a major part of driving in this country.

“Unfortunately, many motorists are terrified of them. This is not helped by some of the cases we’ve gathered that have a fearsome reputation and seem to almost unnerve drivers before they even get to them.”

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One of London’s most infamous road layouts, Hanger Lane is a mainstay of morning and evening traffic reports as it is a cause of delays and frustration for commuters and locals alike.

It is meant to guide traffic where the A40 crosses paths with the North Circular.

But, with anything up to eight lanes of traffic to negotiate, it is considered terrifying by many and often referred to by its nickname ‘Malfunction Junction’.

The gyratory carries up to 10,000 vehicles an hour at peak times and its centre houses a Tube station and nature reserve.

Plans to demolish the roundabout, to accommodate the new HS2 rail link, were shelved in 2013 due to the high cost.

Elephant and Castle is the other London location to make the list.