Driving 101: Going Round-and-Round 

Roundabouts.  My stomach already gets shaky just to mention the word.  I dread roundabouts about as much as I do four-way stops.  Even if you know what you are supposed to do, it’s not always safe to assume others know what to do. 

A roundabout is supposed to help traffic flow and nicer cousin to the four-way stop.  

The single-lane roundabout is pretty easy to understand and navigate.  It’s the two-lane that causes a lot of confusion.  Specifically, what’s the deal with the inside lane?   You could get in it and never get out!

Keep calm and drive on.  

The inside lane of a roundabout is for when you want to go straight, make a left turn or u-turn.  The key thing to remember is that you stay in the same lane when you get out of the roundabout. (See the diagram below)

To go straight or right, get in the right lane. 

To go straight, left or make a u-turn, get in the left lane.  

Entering the roundabout can be tricky.  Choose the appropriate lane before you enter the roundabout.  Look to your left and yield to drivers already in the roundabout in both lanes. Once a gap appears, merge into the roundabout and proceed to your exit.  

Yeah, it sounds easy on paper right?

If you get stuck on the inside lane, stay in it until you can safely exit.  Some drivers will just stay in the right lane regardless of the rules.  Drivers not knowing the rules of roundabouts are the biggest problems. 

They key things to remember:

  • Yield to drivers in the roundabout
  • Stay in your lane
  • Do not stop in the roundabout
  • Avoid driving next to oversized vehicles

Believe or not, studies have shown that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop sign or signal-controlled intersections.  Honestly, that’s a little hard for me to believe but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says it reduced injury crashes by 75 percent.  

This can only work if everyone knows the rules.  

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