Roundabouts

Frequently Asked Questions

How to drive in a roundabout

I learned the rule as: "Yield to the Right." Is that correct in a roundabout?

At roundabouts, the traffic circulates counter-clockwise and moves toward vehicles at the yield line. Vehicle operators should always yield at the entry to circulating traffic. In practice, that means yield to traffic from the left, similar to the action that is necessary when entering a freeway or turning right at a red traffic light/signal.

Should I use my turn signal?

Yes. Especially when exiting the roundabout. This allows vehicles waiting to enter the roundabout to know your intentions.

Do I get a turn to go?

Roundabouts are not like four-way stops in the fact that there is not taking of turns among vehicle operators. Vehicle operators should enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in the traffic flow.

Do I have to stop at the yield signs?

It depends on the amount of traffic already in the roundabout. When there is a lot of traffic, vehicle operators will probably have to stop at the yield sign and wait for a safe gap before proceeding. If a safe gap already exists, operators are not required to stop. However, vehicle operators should always slow down enough so they can stop, if necessary.

How large of a gap do I need?

This is a good-judgment decision based on the vehicle being driver, weather conditions and traffic flow. It is always the vehicle operator's responsibility to select a safe gap before crossing the yield line.

Is it okay to "let someone in?"

Vehicle operators in the roundabout may slow down so that the safe gap becomes more obvious to the driver wanting to enter the roundabout; however, they should not stop. Vehicle operators should not stop after crossing the yield line and are actually in the roundabout circle.

Does traffic approaching from one direction have priority over traffic approaching from another direction?

The only priority rule is that drivers inside the roundabout have the right-of-way over any driver entering the roundabout, regardless of approach direction. Every entrance has a yield sign for approach vehicles.

I know the rule is do not stop inside the roundabout. What should I do when someone else stops inside the roundabout?

Vehicle operators should always drive defensively and allow plenty of space between themselves and the vehicles ahead. If a driver becomes confused and stops their vehicle in the roundabout, be patient and wait for them to proceed. If a vehicle operator were to attempt to go around a confused driver, added confusion could result, possibly causing vehicle conflicts. So, it's in everyone's best interest to wait for these vehicles, and then continue through the roundabout.

What do I do when the driver in front of me is too timid at the yield line?

Be patient and wait for them to choose their safe gap. Try to avoid horn honking because it tends to cause less confident drivers to make mistakes.

While I'm waiting for my turn at the yield line I'm not sure what to do about the pedestrian crosswalks.

Vehicle operators should remain behind the pedestrian crosswalks until there is room for their entire vehicles to travel beyond the crosswalk.

What can we do about people who do not yield or speed?

First, practice defensive driving. Second, all drivers should try to set the right example by obeying the traffic signs, and others will learn and follow suit. All drivers should drive at a safe and consistent speed so other drivers can easily judge the traffic flow speed.

The roundabouts are nicely landscaped. Are there any special rules for using a roundabout during maintenance activities?

Drivers should be aware that routine landscape maintenance is common at roundabouts. Be courteous and drive cautiously when maintenance personnel are present.

Can I change lanes in the roundabout?

Vehicle operators should not change lanes once crossing the yield line and are in the circle portion of the roundabout. If there is a need to change lanes, vehicle operators should do so before reaching the yield line. A roundabout is like any other intersection. Get in the left lane to turn left and right lane to turn right.

Can I cross to the center island?

No.

I sometimes get trapped in the inside lane. What should I do?

Most multi-lane roundabouts are designed, signed and striped to minimize this problem by leading traffic to the exit points. If all else fails, simply go around once and try again.

I'm driving in a multi-lane roundabout. How do I choose which lane to enter and exit?

Multi-lane roundabouts should be approached the same way as any other intersection. To turn left, use the left-most lane and signal for a left turn. To turn right, use the right-most lane and signal for a right turn. In all situations, vehicle operators should pass counterclockwise around the central island. When preparing to exit, vehicle operators should turn on their right turn signals as soon as they pass the exit before the one that will be used.

What should I do when I'm in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle arrives?

If the roadway in the roundabout is wide enough, vehicle operators should pull as far to the right as possible and allow the emergency vehicle to pass. However, it is generally better to completely clear the intersection and pull off to the side past the roundabout.