For drivers accustomed to four-way intersections, the sudden appearance of a roundabout can be confusing, to say the least. You might immediately wonder: do I need to stop? Should I use a turn signal? What lane should I be in? Are there even lanes?
To answer these common questions, we put together a seven-step primer to help you navigate roundabouts with confidence.
As you approach the roundabout, slow down safely and think about where you want to go. If you’re not sure what exit to take, look for a road sign that shows the streets that feed in and out of the roundabout.
Pick your lane
Larger roundabouts will have multiple lanes. There will be signs that indicate where each lane leads.
Try your best to use the correct lane for your destination: choose the left lane to turn left or go straight and choose the right lane to turn right or go straight. Don’t stop—unless it’s to avoid a collision—and don’t change lanes. If you miss your exit, do another lapof the roundabout until you reach your exit.
Watch for pedestrians
You’ll often find crosswalks before and after roundabouts. Just like at any other crossing zone, stop if you see someone. “Pedestrians are number one,” says Sufyan Mirza, an instructor with A1 Academy of Driving based in Ancaster, Ont.
It’s the golden rule: before you enter, you must yield to any vehicles already in the roundabout. If the coast is clear, you don’t need to stop. Always venture into and out ofthe roundabout carefully—not like it’s the final turn of the Indy 500.
This is the golden rule, part two. In Canada, and other right-hand-drive countries, you must travel counterclockwise around a roundabout. If you venture clockwise, you’ll be heading into oncoming traffic.
Using your turn signals
According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, you don’t need to signal when entering a roundabout. But you do need to use your signals if you’re changing lanes within it or when exiting the roundabout.
Once you’re in the roundabout, give yourself plenty of space and be on the lookout for wayward drivers. Keep in mind that not every driver knows how to navigate a roundabout, so be alert and cautiousof those around you.
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