Most intersections we approach on the road are shaped like a square. The square intersection is the one most drivers will come across on the road, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other types of intersections. In cities, you may find a few oddly shaped intersections and in suburbs you may find what’s called a roundabout. The roundabout is an intersection, just like any other, except the shape is a circle. Usually, you’ll find an island in the middle to help guide you around.
Roundabouts have many functions, but not everyone knows how to drive safely through one.
The goal of a roundabout is to increase the safety level for everyone, including pedestrians. Do not block the crosswalk, you could be putting yourself and others in danger.
While roundabouts help to keep traffic flowing, they do require you to pay attention. Make sure to check that you are clear for entry into the roundabout before proceeding.
The island in the middle serves multiple purposes. The major reason is for emergency vehicles or large trucks. You will notice a raised apron wrapped around the island, that is for emergency vehicles and large trucks, so stay clear of that area.
In a normal situation, we all know to pull over in order to clear an emergency vehicle’s path. In a roundabout, the opposite is true. Instead of pulling over, keep moving if an emergency vehicle is behind you and has turned on their lights or sirens. Do not block the way of the emergency vehicles path.
Just like any other situation, you will want to use your blinkers. Before exiting the roundabout, be sure to signal right to allow others waiting to enter the roundabout know when you will be exiting the roundabout.
Both upon entrance and exit, you will need to yield. Upon entrance, you need to yield to other motorists and pedestrians but do not stop. Again, the goal is to keep traffic flowing while keeping everyone safe. Upon your exit, you need to yield to pedestrians. As always, distracted driving can cause the most damage in a roundabout.
Roundabouts are there to decrease the chances of head-on collisions, keep the flow of traffic moving and to help pedestrians. In order to allow the roundabout to serve its purpose, we must know how to properly use them. Some people don’t approach roundabouts as often as others, and they become a forgotten obstacle. The most important part of a roundabout is the yield sign, while it’s not a stop sign, it is just as important.