Since 2005 the Georgia Department of Transportation has installed roundabouts on Georgia’s roadways. However, in recent years their numbers have increased exponentially. Typically installed to replace high traffic 4-way intersections, roundabouts offer many traffic safety benefits such as reducing delays, improving traffic flow, and are less expensive to install and maintain than a traffic signal (stop light). In addition, research has found that when compared to traffic signals, roundabouts can lead to about a 90% reduction in fatalities and a 75% reduction in crashes with injuries*. However, with its many benefits, the challenge comes in that some may find it difficult to properly navigate them. So then, what is the safest and legal way to navigate a single lane roundabout?
Navigating the Roundabout
Prior to approaching a roundabout you will see a lane control sign –“Roundabout Ahead” followed by a “Yield” sign. When approaching a roundabout, reduce your speed to between 15-20 mph and look for vehicles already in the circulating roadway. If there are no vehicles in the roundabout circle or entering the roundabout from a lane on the left, then you can enter the roundabout at a reduced speed without stopping. However, if there are vehicles in the circle or entering at the same time, then the driver should yield or stop as the traffic in the roundabout has the right of way. Wait for an adequate gap in order to enter the roundabout safely.
What not to do in a roundabout
· DO NOT stop within a roundabout unless it is the only way to avoid a crash.
· DO NOT change lanes within a roundabout.
· Give special consideration to trucks, trailers and other large vehicles. They may need to utilize more than one lane within a roundabout.
· DO NOT attempt to pass any vehicles especially large trucks.
· If you miss your exit, continue through the roundabout until you reach your appropriate exit.
· When exiting, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the street.
For more information on how to navigate a single lane roundabout join us for one of our upcoming Defensive Driving classes.
*Source: Federal Highway Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (FHWA and IHS)