Do Roundabouts and Traffic Circles Make You Dizzy?

Traffic CircleLove them or hate them, roundabouts and traffic circles are a fact of life for BC drivers. They slow traffic at intersections without stopping it, providing good throughput and increased safety. They are also environmentally friendly as idle time at intersections can be reduced or eliminated depending on traffic volume. All that is left for us to do, if my e-mail is any indication, is to learn to use them properly.

Since we drive around traffic circles counterclockwise, there is no need to signal as you approach. There is only one way to go and other traffic does not need to be notified. You do signal your intent to exit though as there are choices to be made by both you and the other traffic around you.

Yes, just as the sign shows, you must yield to other traffic already in the traffic circle before you enter it.

Are you being overtaken by an emergency vehicle using flashing lights and a siren? Pull over and stop before you enter the roundabout or continue to the nearest exit, clear the roundabout and then stop to let the emergency vehicle pass by.

Multiple lane roundabouts require planning before you enter them. If you intend to turn right or go straight through, enter in the right lane. If you intend to go straight through or turn left, enter in the left lane. ICBC advised that you must not change lanes in a multiple lane roundabout.

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Comments

roundabout signals

Left signal remains on while in the roundabout, turn right signal on when you are about to exit the roundabout.
A signal is the stick on the left side of the steering column that when pushed up or pulled down causes a light to flash on either side of your vehicle. This indicates to other drivers your intended direction of travel. It's not only a legal function, it's common courtesy.
That's for most people that don't seem to know what they are.

Circular thinking.

It's worth keeping in mind that traffic circles (those little islands in quiet residential neighbourhoods) and roundabouts (larger devices designed to accommodate heavier flow including the passage of fire trucks and other large vehicles when necessary) should be treated differently; and also that here in BC, we still don't generally use those massive multi-lane roundabouts you see in europe, where signalling is very critical to avoid conflict.

A traffic circle is an uncontrolled intersection.  And what do you do at an uncontrolled intersection?  Simple, you signal left if you're turning left (even though you're going the long way about it), you don't signal at all if you're going straight, and you signal right if you're turning right.

A roundabout is a controlled intersection; there are 'Yield' signs facing drivers about to enter, and these define who doesn't have the right of way.  Perhaps because one can only turn right into a circle or roundabout, and one can only turn right out of a circle or roundabout, there is no requirement to signal left as suggested above by the previous poster, and may be misunderstood here (I believe it would be a more common practice in europe).  You should, however, signal right to exit.

In Swindon, UK, they have what may well be the world's worst intersection.  They call it the 'Magic Roundabout' (a reference to a children's TV show there) and you can find more information on that monstrosity, here and a video clip, here.

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