Roundabouts, also called traffic circles, aren’t that common in Austin TX. However, these circular intersections are becoming more and more popular. According to one study, roundabouts decreased traffic delays by 20 percent. In a study of intersections that had changed from a traditional stop light to a roundabout, the traffic circle reduced the overall number of collisions by an estimated 37 percent, and dropped fatal collisions by up to 90 percent. That’s a huge drop in driving accidents! But how should you drive in a roundabout? We have step by step instructions.
How should you drive in a roundabout?
The beautiful thing about a roundabout is that cars don’t have to stop if there is no one already in the intersection. Entering a traffic circle is like always trying to take a right turn at a red light: stop if someone is coming, but go if no one is. Here are some basic steps to driving through a roundabout.
- When you see a roundabout sign, slow down. Most roundabouts should be taken at 15-20 mph
- Slowing down gives you time to check for pedestrians (who have the right of way)
- Get into the correct lane. If there is only one lane, you can exit at any point in the roundabout. If there are multiple lanes, choose the lane that meets your needs. There is NO CHANGING OF LANES once you are inside the roundabout
- When you get to the roundabout, look left to see if any vehicles are in the roundabout already (coming at you)
- If there cars in the roundabout, stop at the yield sign. If not, continue into the roundabout by driving to the right (counterclockwise)
- Most roundabouts have three to five exists. Take the correct exit.
- You have survived the roundabout!
GPS Navigation with a Roundabout
If you are new to roundabouts, and listening to a GPS navigation system, then it can be confusing to know where you want to go. Your GPS may call each road on the roundabout an “exit”. If you have a four-road roundabout, and your GPS says “take the second exit”, that basically means you should go straight (so you would skip the first exit on the right, and take the next one). However, in order to get to the next road you will have to follow the curve of the roundabout, and not just drive straight through.
In a four-road roundabout, if the GPS says “take the third exit” that ultimately means you will be going left. However, you would still enter the roundabout going right and drive around it going counterclockwise.
We hope this blog helped shed a little light on how to use a roundabout. The best way to learn to take roundabouts with confidence is to practice (preferably not during rush hour). Please drive responsibility. Safe driving!