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How to Use a Roundabout

Overhead of a roundabout

Just a few years ago, roundabouts were largely considered an outdated form of traffic control. You’d hardly ever see them except in the oldest American towns. Something has changed since then; roundabouts are popping up across the country, but many drivers don’t understand how to use them. So what is the correct way to use a roundabout?

The Basics

Roundabouts are a means of reducing traffic congestion at four-way intersections. Because they use yield signs instead of stop signs, the idea is that traffic never slows down. Rather, there is always someone moving through the intersection, and this is achieved by having everyone driving in the same direction.

This is the first mistake people make at a roundabout: they treat it like a stop sign instead of a yield. Stopping when the roundabout is clear defeats the purpose and makes traffic slower. As you approach the intersection, look to your left. If there is not a vehicle coming toward you or a pedestrian crossing, you can continue through the intersection without stopping.

The other big mistake drivers make at roundabouts is going in the wrong direction. Roundabouts always go counterclockwise. No matter what direction you need to go or where you enter the roundabout from, you should only ever enter the intersection by going right. Going left is not only a traffic violation; it dramatically increases the risk of a crash.

Two Lanes

Not every roundabout is the same. High-traffic intersections may have two lanes: an inner ring and an outer ring. It’s not uncommon for drivers to misunderstand what the inner ring is for or even fear getting stuck in the inner circle. So why would a roundabout have multiple lanes?

The outer ring is for turning onto the road to your immediate right. The inner ring is for either exiting straight ahead or all the way around the loop. Again, this is designed to reduce traffic congestion and help everyone get to their destination as quickly and safely as possible.

That said, there are still many drivers who won’t fully understand how a roundabout works. If you’re ever in a crash at a roundabout, it’s important that you understand what to do after the accident and then call your attorney immediately.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car crash, our Rochester car accident attorneys are here to help. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced attorney from Faraci Lange, LLP, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (888) 997-4110. We’re here to help.