Roundabout intersections are increasingly being used for traffic control in B.C. and other places in North America. Since the 1960s, they’ve been standard in Great Britain, and today you’ll find them in most parts of the world. The reason: they offer smooth traffic flow, with less idling and fewer T-bone (side impact) collisions.
Anything new can take some getting used to, and people absorb information in different ways. So, we’ve created a number of tools including videos and a roundabout simulator, where you can choose your mode of travel (vehicle, bicycle or walking) and the direction you’re going (right, left, straight or u-turn). Try it out and watch how roundabouts work for a variety of travellers.
At roundabouts, you won’t see stop signs or traffic lights, because of these two golden rules :
- Yield to traffic in the roundabout, before entering
- Turn right to enter the roundabout and keep moving counter-clockwise.
Here are some steps for navigating roundabouts:
ENTERING A ROUNDABOUT:
A single lane roundabout:
- Slow down, watch for traffic coming from the left, and when safe, turn right into the roundabout.
A two-lane roundabout:
When approaching the roundabout, watch the green guide sign for the roundabout lane that leads to your turnoff. Move into that approach lane.
Approaching the roundabout from the right lane:
- Slow down, watch for traffic coming from the left, and when safe, turn right into the right lane of the roundabout.
Approaching from the left lane:
- Slow down, watch for traffic coming from the left, and when safe, turn right into the left lane of the roundabout (closest to the centre island).
EXITING THE ROUNDABOUT:
- Signal right, as you approach your turnoff.
If you drive past where you wanted to exit, don’t worry. You will be coming around to your exit again soon.
While this all might be unfamiliar, think of it this way: Turn right to enter and right to exit, and it’s hard to go wrong. (But also watch for cyclists and pedestrians, and as always, drive defensively.)
TranBC Trivia: The first British roundabout was built in Letchworth Garden City in 1903.