How To Drive Around a Traffic Circle or Roundabout
The “know how” makes all the difference
Roundabouts are specially designed to reduce accidents and driver conflict. This system is typically meant to be faster than four way stops, as it can be driven through at low speeds with little stopping.
However, there are some basics things that this article highlights which are important to realise when driving through a traffic circle. The awareness of the correct way to drive in a circle will go a long way to keeping you and those around you safe.
There are many things you should look out for when in driving towards or in a traffic circle. Firstly, always ensure that you are in the lane you need to be in before you enter the circle. This will prevent a lot of confusions and even a potential accident. If you have to stop before entering the roundabout, make sure you are certain it’s safe to go and then ease into the circle. Never speed into a circle. The system was designed to work with vehicles doing low speeds. Doing high speeds in a circle can be very unsafe.
When entering the circle, traffic coming from the right has right of way. You must always yield for traffic coming from the right. The only exception is in a mini circle where the person who has crossed the yield sign first may go first. Once in any circle, you need to signal your intentions clearly. The left indicator will indicate taking the 9 o clock exit, no indicator negates straight, or the 12 o clock exit and a right indicator signals that you wish to take the 3 o clock exit. Even though you should be considerate enough to always signal your intentions, be aware that other drivers might not be as courteous. When wanting to enter a circle, be aware that a driver not indicating might not necessarily be going straight, they might continue to the next exit.
Also be aware that when watching the vehicle to your right that one in front of you might have stopped. Always take care to also watch the car in front of you. Be aware that some trucks take 2 lanes to turn and that you will need to stay well out of their way.
But what happens when there are 2 vehicles in the circle at the same time? A situation like this can often lead to an accident, or a form of a side on collision. This best way to deal with a situation like this is to determine if a vehicle is further in front or behind you. If it is further behind speed up to get ahead, if ahead slow down to let the vehicle make its exit.
In general, one should always remember to be courteous on the roads and that nobody should be obstructing anyone’s line or travel in a circle. A traffic circle is designed to make the lives of motorists safer and more efficient. If we take note of safe driving practices a traffic circle will make driving a pleasure.