Roundabouts

Tds Image 11 SmallMany states and communities are installing roundabouts as safer, more efficient alternatives to intersections with stop signs or traffic signals. A roundabout is a low-speed intersection in which traffic flows continuously around a circular central island. Traffic entering a roundabout must slow down on the approach, and yield to traffic already in the central island. Studies show that roundabouts reduce the frequency of injury crashes by as much as 70 percent, improve traffic flow, and can reduce air pollution due to vehicle emissions. But they can be confusing to drivers who have never driven through them. These tips will help you to more easily navigate your next roundabout.

Know where you are going
We’ve all seen that movie before, the one where the driver goes into a roundabout and doesn’t know where to go or how to get out of it. Before you enter a roundabout intersection, or any intersection for that matter, know where you want to be after you leave that intersection. Know which direction you want to be headed, or which street you want to be on. This will make it easier for you to get through the roundabout.

Choose your lane
When approaching a roundabout, slow down. Modern roundabouts have what’s called a “splitter island” on the approach. The splitter island slows down the approaching traffic before it can enter; a yield sign indicates that traffic approaching the roundabout must yield to traffic that is already in the circulating road. Watch for any warning signs and obey the posted speed limit on the approach to a roundabout.

Slow down
When approaching a roundabout, slow down. Modern roundabouts have what’s called a “splitter island” on the approach. The splitter island slows down the approaching traffic before it can enter; a yield sign indicates that traffic approaching the roundabout must yield to traffic that is already in the circulating road. Watch for any warning signs and obey the posted speed limit on the approach to a roundabout.

Yield before entering
Traffic flows counterclockwise (or from your left to your right) in a roundabout. So regardless of where you enter the intersection, traffic should be approaching from your left. Remember to yield the right of way and then enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap. If there is no traffic in the roundabout, you are not required to stop before entering.

Keep moving
Once you’re in the roundabout, stop only to avoid a collision and be sure to use your turn signals to let other drivers know when you’re exiting the roundabout. Cars stopped in a roundabout can block traffic, create congestion, and will impede emergency vehicles from getting through. Also, be aware of large trucks that may require more time to safely get through a roundabout than you would in your car.

Take care
Keep an eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists navigating any intersection including a roundabout. Be especially careful when approaching roundabouts where visually-impaired pedestrians are known to cross; because cars don’t always need to stop, visually-impaired pedestrians may not have the audio cues that they normally depend on to be able to detect safe crossing gaps in traffic. Be courteous and yield to these pedestrians if you see them trying to cross in front of you..

And take greater care when approaching a roundabout in the winter. Accumulations of snow and ice make the center island harder to see and the circular path trickier to navigate.

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Roundabouts

Roundabouts significantly reduce crashes and crash related injuries, as well as decrease traffic congestion.

http://teendriving.statefarm.com/learning-to-drive/driving-with-a-permit/roundabouts

Last Updated: April 08, 2013