Tips to Navigate Roundabouts While Driving

Roundabouts are becoming more common in the United States. Learning its protocol can prevent unnecessary collisions or misunderstandings with other drivers. While popular in Europe and other parts of the world, the US has mainly relied on traffic lights and stop signs to direct traffic, until recently. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that they are much safer, reducing injury accidents by 76%, and major-injury and fatal accidents by 90%. The following steps are aimed to help you drive a roundabout successfully if you’ve noticed new traffic circles in your neighborhood or city:


Protocol to drive a roundabout

Roundabouts are difficult to miss. Slow down as you approach a roundabout; decrease your speed to 15-20 mph to see if there are any vehicles already inside the traffic circle.


Yield to the vehicles in the circle; come to a stop if needed. Proceed with caution after you confirm there aren’t more vehicles approaching from your left. Maintain a slow speed once inside the roundabout and signal your intent to exit the traffic circle.


It’s also important to let other drivers know you’re taking the last exit on the roundabout (3/4 of the circle) by signaling left while you’re inside.


Single-lane vs. multi-lane roundabouts

There are two types of roundabouts those with a single lane and multiple lanes. Following the steps above is easy when you’re driving in a single-lane roundabout.


But, what happens when the roundabout has multiple lanes? Things get tricky when the traffic circle has more than one lane but once you understand the protocol, you’ll realize it’s not that complicated.


Follow the initial steps and slow down as you approach the roundabout. Observe any vehicle coming from the left and proceed with caution. These are the guidelines to follow after:


  • Drive in the outside lane if you’re turning right on the first exit.
  • Follow this same procedure if you’re going straight or taking the second exit. Watch for any vehicles driving in the middle lane.
  • Move to the inside lane if you’re taking the last exit (3/4 of the circle) or making a u-turn. Again, watch for any other vehicles inside the roundabout. Keep the left signal on to notify drivers approaching the roundabout that you’re taking the last exit.


What is the purpose of traffic circles?

Traffic circles are very popular in Europe and other parts of the world. Their main purpose is to alleviate traffic congestion at intersections and to avoid collisions.


Traffic circles force drivers to slow their speed without trying to “beat the light” at the intersection. Vehicles aren’t required to stop unless there’s already a car inside the roundabout, and this allows traffic to continue moving. Additionally, since all vehicles in the circle drive the same direction, the possibility of being T-boned or having a frontal collision decreases dramatically.


All these factors have encouraged more cities across the United States to adopt traffic circles instead of stop signs and traffic lights.


While studies have shown they reduce collisions, there’s always a chance of being involved in a crash. That’s why keeping your auto policy up to date is crucial. Infinity can help you save on your car insurance with plans that suit your budget and needs. Call one of our agents at 1-800-INFINITY or visit our website to receive a quote in minutes.

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