Let’s get this out of the way first: There is no right way to use a roundabout unless it is in England or Europe or wherever this menace was invented. They are goofy-looking relics from ancient lands, a sick joke that a group of old engineers is playing on us. We like intersections with lights directing traffic and a set order of who is proceeding and when, not this Thunderdome-like lawlessness that is the roundabout. With that out of the way, we present how to use a roundabout the right way. Hopefully, you never happen upon such a thing, but know that they are out there and invading streets in the middle of nowhere. Lurking. Waiting.
Slow Down as You Approach
As you approach the roundabout, slow down and start scanning the traffic ahead and to the left. If there are stopped cars in front of you waiting to enter, then stop and wait as well. If the roundabout is clear and there is no traffic, then proceed. You don’t have to stop at all if the coast is clear.
Give the Right of Way
If you see cars in the roundabout as you near it, they have the right of way. You don’t have to stop, but you do have to wait until it is safe to proceed. Most roundabouts in America are one lane, and that means you have to wait your turn and come to a complete stop. When you feel it is safe to enter, do so, but always be mindful of other cars that are approaching and entering too.
Use Your Signals
Just as you would at a normal intersection, you must signal your intent. You must use your turn signals to tell the other drivers where you are going. If you are turning right at the first exit, then use your right turn signal. If you are going to the second exit or going straight, don’t signal at all. If you are turning left, using the third exit, then use your left turn signal.
Navigating a Two-Lane Roundabout
Now that you’ve learned how to use a roundabout the right way, they will throw a wrinkle at you: two lanes. Yep, it’s a mess. It’s mostly like using a single lane, so don’t sweat it. There might be signs telling you which lanes to use for where you want to go. If not, then stick to the outside lane if you want to take either of the first two exits and take the inside lane if you want to use the third.
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