Roundabouts or rotaries were not that common in certain areas of the world. Today, however, their use is increasing as they don’t cost as much to operate, they ease congestion, and reduce accidents. They also don’t use as much energy as the standard light-operated intersections.
A roundabout is made to be more efficient for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians and to make intersections safer. There are basically two types of rotaries which are single-lane and multi-lane. Driving around these rotaries can look intimidating, but really they are easier to learn and only take a couple more skills than when entering and exiting a major interstate or highway.
Driving Single-Lane Roundabouts
When you get to a rotary, you’ll notice a yellow sign that says ’roundabout ahead’ that also displays the speed limit for it. As you get closer to the rotary, slow down and make sure there are no pedestrians walking across the crosswalk.
Once safe to do so, start driving towards the rotary and as you get closer to the entrance and yield sign, look to your left and yield to allow other traffic go by that is already using the roundabout. You can proceed once you notice a gap in the traffic and make your way to your exit. If you don’t see any traffic in the rotary, you can enter slowly without yielding. Be sure to stay in your lane while driving around the roundabout.
These are a little trickier since there are several lanes with traffic driving in the same direction. You still need to follow the basic rules above but you also want to stay in the correct lane in the direction you are going to.
For instance, if you are driving straight through, you can drive in any of the lanes, however, you should stay in the right lane if you plan on turning right at your exit and stay in the left lane if you plan on making a U-turn or drive in a different direction to your exit.
No matter which type of roundabout you are driving on, never stop in the rotary, obey all traffic signs and always yield before entering when there is oncoming traffic. Roundabouts are very convenient, but they still come with risks. That’s why it is vital to be covered with adequate auto insurance.