How to Negotiate Roundabouts

Written by ron sardisco
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Roundabouts were designed to improve traffic flow at heavily utilised intersections. Think of it as a safety feature that will all but eliminate the chance of a head-on collision and getting a ticket for running a red light. You will never have to wait behind a timid driver to make a left turn. While at first confusing, studying the diagrams presented in the links will clarify the principle of negotiating a roundabout. An important thing to remember is that all U.S.-based roundabouts flow in a counterclockwise direction. There are some subtle differences between single and multilane roundabouts.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Approach the roundabout carefully. Observe the signage for lane assignment in a multilane situation. If you were going to turn left originally, you still need to be in the left lane as you would in any intersection.

  2. 2

    Watch traffic coming from your left and merge into the flow when it is safe. All traffic is going in the same direction around the circle. Traffic entering the flow must yield.

  3. 3

    Negotiate the circle, always watching for someone who might change lanes into yours, and exit the circle at your intended street.

Tips and warnings

  • Think of a roundabout as a regular intersection without the signal.
  • You may turn left or right out of a single lane roundabout.
  • Signal your exit just as you would any other turn.
  • Vehicles already in the roundabout have the right of way.
  • Do not change lanes in the roundabout. If you are going straight through, the right lane is preferred.
  • Avoid driving next to oversized vehicles.
  • Watch for pedestrians and cyclists.

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