How to Navigate a Roundabout

Photo: Photo by Grand Canyon National Park (Flickr)

People have lots of information to learn to become good drivers. Maintaining an automobile often involves learning how to change the oil and learning about various car parts you might have to replace. Road safety also involves learning about different intersections you might encounter. As you drive through a busy interchange or exit from a highway, you might come to a special type of intersection called a roundabout or traffic circle. Roundabouts are circular intersections that allow cars from different directions to enter and exit. Sometimes drivers become confused when trying to navigate roundabouts. If you don't understand how they function and their purpose, you might make mistakes when driving your car through a roundabout. Learn about roundabouts so you can drive your auto through them safely.

What Is a Roundabout, and How Are They Useful?

Roundabouts are circular intersections. Cars drive in a counter-clockwise fashion around roundabouts. Traffic engineers use roundabouts as a way to slow traffic down and force drivers to pay closer attention to driving. Roundabouts are also useful because they keep traffic moving through intersections. Experts have found that constructing roundabouts to replace standard intersections is an effective way to eliminate some types of accidents. When roundabouts are in place, fewer head-on and left-turn accidents happen in intersections. This has been instrumental in reducing the number of serious and fatal car accidents.

How to Navigate a Roundabout

Once you learn how to navigate roundabouts, you can drive through them cautiously and confidently. Always be prepared to yield to other drivers as you approach and navigate a roundabout. Experts recommend driving through a roundabout at about 15 mph or less.

  1. If the roundabout has more than one lane, decide which lane you need to be in before you get to the roundabout. There may be a sign to guide you on which lane you should be in. Check your blind spot and change lanes, if necessary, before entering the interchange. If you will be turning left, navigate to the left lane. If you will be turning right, place your car in the right lane.
  2. Look to the left for oncoming traffic as you approach the roundabout. If cars are approaching, yield and wait until they pass before entering the intersection. If there are no cars coming, proceed into the roundabout.
  3. Do not change lanes after you enter the roundabout. As long as you chose your lane correctly for where you want to go, you will most likely be in the correct position to navigate accordingly.
  4. Cars should avoid stopping in a roundabout. If an emergency vehicle approaches while you are driving in a roundabout, drive through it and then pull over.
  5. Use caution when driving near tractor-trailers in roundabouts. These vehicles may need to use more than one lane to navigate the interchange.

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