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How to Drive Through a Roundabout

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Photo: Pexels

More and more, states are implementing roundabouts, or traffic circles, into their city streets. Studies have determined that roundabouts are often safer than traditional intersections, and they work to reduce congestion. But, if you’re not used to them, they can be pretty confusing. So how do you use one?

Well, first thing’s first: yield.

When you’re approaching a traffic circle, you don’t have to stop unless there’s a specific stop sign. Any vehicles inside the traffic circle have the right of way. Yield at the entrance to the circle, and when you see an opening, you can enter the circle.

Once you’re in the roundabout, it’s pretty straightforward (pun intended – we like puns here at The News Wheel). Follow the circle to your desired “exit” and follow the exit like you would on the highway. However, make sure you are watching for pedestrians at each “exit.” Just like traditional intersections, there are often pedestrian crosswalks.

If you’re in a roundabout with multiple lanes, do not change lanes in the traffic circle. You need to choose your lane before entering the roundabout. If you want to turn right, stay in the right lane. If you want to turn left or make a U-turn, stay in the left lane. You can use the right lane or the left lane to go straight. There will likely be signs by the entrance indicating which lanes are for which exits. If you accidentally choose the wrong lane, it’s safer to continue on your path and turn around later than to try and change lanes in the circle.

When you’re entering a roundabout, remember to stay calm and don’t panic. If you panic and decide to stop mid-circle, you can create an even more dangerous situation.

Source: Washington State Department of Transportation