They are becoming a more prominent way of handling traffic at intersections in Ontario so here are the ins and outs of how to handle a roundabout.
There are drivers whose blood runs cold when they see a Roundabout 300 metres ahead signs coming up.
However, a roundabout is no reason to panic, if you are able to follow the directions and yield properly, you should make it in, through, and out safely. There are a few steps to follow when approaching, driving in, and leaving the roundabout.
Approaching the roundabout
When you approach the roundabout:
1. Slow down
2. Keep to the right of the splitter island
3. Use the correct lane for your intended destination
4. Pay special attention to pedestrians who may be crossing the roadway
5. Yield to cyclists and any traffic already driving through the roundabout
6. Stop if there are vehicles already inside the roundabout and the way is not clear
7. Enter when there is a safe gap in traffic
Driving in the roundabout
When you’re in the roundabout:
1. Keep to the right of the centre island and drive in a counter-clockwise direction until you reach your exit
2. Don’t pass large vehicles or change lanes
3. Don’t stop inside the roundabout, except to avoid a collision
Leaving the roundabout
To exit the roundabout:
1. Use your right-turn signal
2. If you miss your exit, continue around the roundabout again and then exit
These instructions are provided by the MTO for all vehicles that are making use of a roundabout. They also encourage experienced cyclists to us the same rules as vehicles while merging into the centre of the vehicle lane before the bike lane or shoulder ends upon entering. Inexperienced cyclists are encouraged to get off their bikes and proceed through as a pedestrian.
How are pedestrians intended to pass roundabouts? That is rather simple. Cross the roads that lead into the roundabout one at a time. Never cross a roundabout by walking over the central island. And wait for a gap in traffic. Cross only when it is safe.
If everyone can follow these simple instructions, then roundabouts can be one of the quickest and safest intersections that you will come across. But that requires everyone understands and follows the rules of the road. If you would like to help out with that you are welcome to share this information with as many people as you can!
Information from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Image from Sean Vokey of the Canadian Press via Facebook