Ontario drivers are no strangers to roundabouts. You’ve probably driven through a few while visiting other provinces or states, but what you may not know is that there are specific rules for how to drive in a roundabout in each state.
In this article, we will discuss the rules for driving in a roundabout and some tips on how to stay safe while using them.
What is a Roundabout?
A roundabout is a type of intersection where traffic flows in a circle around a central island. It is a traffic circle that helps regulate the flow of traffic. It is typically found at intersections where multiple roads meet.
Roundabouts are designed to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion and accidents at intersections. They are becoming increasingly popular in the United States & Canada as a way to improve traffic safety and efficiency.
Roundabouts work by having traffic enter the intersection and yield to traffic already in the circle. Extra attention is required at the entry and exit point. Drivers then enter the circle and exit at their desired road. The continuous flow of traffic keeps traffic moving more smoothly and efficiently than at a traditional intersection with stop signs or traffic lights.
Roundabout Rules in Ontario
While Approaching a Roundabout:
- As you approach the roundabout, look for signs indicating which way to go. Select your lane as you enter the roundabout as you would at any other junction.
- Slow down and yield to any pedestrians or cyclists who are crossing.
- If there is no traffic, you may proceed through the intersection.
- Use the left lane to turn left or go straight, and the right lane to turn right or go straight.
- Do not enter a roundabout from the right lane if you want to turn left. Bicycles generally stay in the middle of the corresponding lane or dismount and use the roundabout. The same is the case with a pedestrian.
While Entering a Roundabout:
- Once you have yielded to any pedestrians or cyclists, enter the roundabout and proceed to your exit through the proper lane.
- The right-of-way in the roundabout goes to traffic entering it. When you’re about to enter the roundabout, keep an eye on the vehicles on your left side. If necessary, adjust your speed or stop at the yield signal.
- Do a visual check of all vehicles already present in the roundabout and those who are trying to enter it.
- When there is a gap in the circulating vehicle lane, seek an appropriate entry point. Enter when there is enough space between cars ahead of you.
- Don’t enter the roundabout directly next to another car that’s already inside it; they may be exiting at the following exit.
- When in the roundabout, do not come to a complete stop unless there’s a collision; you have the right-of-way over oncoming traffic.
- Always follow the right side of the island in a circle and go in a counter-clockwise direction when entering the roundabout from the correct lane.
- Do not switch lanes while in the roundabout. If you miss your exit while traveling in the inner lane, you must circle until you can resume your journey along the same path.
While Exiting a Roundabout:
- As you approach your intended exit, look for signs and use your turn signal to indicate that you are leaving the roundabout.
- Yield to pedestrians and cyclists who may be crossing as you exit.
- When exiting a roundabout, always yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
- When in a roundabout, do not stop or alter lanes. If you came in from the left lane, stay to the left; if you came in from the right lane, stay to the right.
- Do not pass other vehicles in the roundabout. Maintain your position relative to other vehicles.
- Once you have passed the exit before the one you want, use your right-turn signal.
- When exiting from the left lane, be aware of vehicles on the right that continue to circulate around the roundabout.
What is the Difference Between a Roundabout and Traffic Circle?
Roundabouts and traffic circles are both types of circular intersections. However, there are some key differences between the two. Roundabouts typically have yield signs or stoplights at each entrance, while traffic circles usually do not. This means that traffic can flow more smoothly through a roundabout than in a traffic circle. Roundabouts also tend to be smaller in size than traffic circles.
Traffic circles are more common in the United States, while roundabouts are more common in Europe. Roundabouts are safer and more efficient than traffic circles, so they are gradually being introduced in the US.
When designing a new intersection, engineers will typically choose a roundabout over a traffic circle if possible. However, there are some situations where a traffic circle may be preferable. For example, if an intersection is located at the bottom of a hill, vehicles may gain too much speed as they come down the hill and become difficult to control. In this case, a traffic circle may be installed to force vehicles to slow down.
At the end of the day, both roundabouts and traffic circles serve the same purpose: to keep traffic moving. However, roundabouts are generally a safer and more efficient option. If you’re ever unsure which one you’re driving through, just remember that round.
Benefits of Using a Roundabout
The major benefits of roundabouts are:
- Roundabouts reduce the number and severity of crashes. They tend to be safer, with a 38% reduction in fatal accidents and a 76% reduction in injury accidents.
- They can improve traffic flow and reduce delays by up to 40%.
- They can accommodate more traffic than traditional intersections. They can handle traffic volumes up to 30% higher than traffic circle intersections.
- They reduce the number of potential conflict points by up to 75%.
- Roundabouts improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.
- They are less expensive to build and maintain than other types of intersections.
- Roundabouts are more aesthetically pleasing than traditional intersections.
- They can help to reduce noise pollution from vehicles.
- They can be used to create a sense of place and identity in an area.
- Roundabouts are more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists than traditional intersections.
- They can help to reduce the number of vehicle emissions in an area.
- Roundabouts are flexible and can be adapted to changing traffic conditions.
- They require less space than traffic circles, so they can be more easily implemented in urban areas.
General Tips For Driving on a Roundabout Safely
Roundabouts can be tricky to master, especially if you’re not used to driving on them. Here are some tips to help you navigate a roundabout safely:
- Enter the roundabout in the appropriate lane when there is a gap in traffic. If there is no gap, wait until one appears.
- Yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
- Use your turn signal to indicate which exit you will be taking.
- Stay in your lane and do not change lanes while in the roundabout.
- If you need to change lanes, wait until you’ve passed the exit before your desired lane, then signal and move over when it’s safe to do so.
- Don’t stop on the roundabout. If you miss your exit, just keep going around and try again.
- Use your right turn signal when you’re exiting the roundabout.
- Exit the roundabout when you reach your desired exit.
Follow these tips, and you should be able to navigate any roundabout you come across safely!
Roundabouts are a safe and efficient way to move traffic through an intersection. They can accommodate more traffic than traditional intersections, and they tend to be safer, with fewer accidents. If you’re ever unsure of how to drive through a roundabout, just remember to yield to traffic already in the roundabout and use your turn signal to indicate which exit you will be taking. Following these simple tips will help you navigate any roundabout safely!
Do you have experience driving in a roundabout? What tips would you add? Let us know in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need to pull over for emergency vehicles on a roundabout?
The answer is no, you don’t need to pull over immediately. Instead, you must cross the roundabout and proceed beyond the traffic island before pulling over.
This is because if you pull over too soon, you’ll be blocking the emergency vehicle’s path and could cause an accident.
So, when you see an emergency vehicle approaching on a roundabout, don’t panic. Just stay calm, cross the roundabout, and then pull over to the side of the road.
Is there a bike lane on a roundabout?
There is no specific answer to this question since Canada has no provincial or federal legislation regulating bike lanes on roundabouts.
However, many municipalities across the country are beginning to include bike lanes in their design standards for new roundabouts. So, it is likely that you will see more and more bike lanes on roundabouts in the future.
Are roundabouts safe than a traditional circular intersection?
Roundabouts are considered to be much safer than traditional intersections for several reasons. First of all, traffic is always moving in a roundabout, eliminating head-on collisions.
Secondly, drivers are only required to yield at entry points rather than stop, which reduces the chance of rear-end collisions. Finally, the slow speeds at which traffic moves in a roundabout reduce the severity of any potential accidents.
Do you need to use indicators while driving on a roundabout?
No, you don’t need to use indicators while driving on a roundabout. You only need to indicate the left or right signals when you’re leaving the roundabout.
What are some common roundabout collisions, and how to avoid them?
There are a few common types of roundabout collisions, and understanding how to avoid them can help keep you safe on the road.
One type of collision that can occur at a roundabout is known as a “yield collision.” This happens when one driver fails to yield to traffic that has the right-of-way and, as a result, crashes into another vehicle.
Another type of roundabout collision is known as an “exit collision.” To avoid this type of collision, always yield to traffic that has the right-of-way before exiting a roundabout.
To avoid this type of collision, it’s important to always yield to traffic that has the right-of-way in centre island when approaching and exiting the roundabout.