Roundabouts and Traffic Circles
I entered the roundabout and was continuing around when someone passed me on the left and shot across in front of me. I don’t know how I avoided a collision, but I did. Clearly his person did not know what they were doing and was driving as if they were on a regular street. Frightening!
Traffic circles (20 m or less in diameter) and roundabouts (30 m or more in diameter) are becoming popular in British Columbia. As this reader knows, so few of us have any experience with them that their navigation can be an adventure. Add the fact that some municipalities may mark them using Ministry of Transportation guidelines which differ from those shown in the provincial driving manual, Roadsense for Drivers, and you can see why confusion may occur.
The simplest situation is a single lane setup. You yield to traffic already in the circle, turn right to enter when safe and travel around in a counterclockwise direction. When you reach the roadway of your choice, turn right to exit.
A two lane roundabout is more complicated, but still easily navigated. If you intend what would have been a left turn at a "normal" intersection or wish to make a U-turn, you must enter the roundabout in the left lane. If you are making what would have been a right turn at a "normal" intersection or wish to travel straight through, you need to enter in the right lane. Otherwise, everything is the same as the single lane situation.
There are many pluses for roundabouts. Stop signs are eliminated, drivers tend to pay more attention and if everyone yields as required the danger of a left turn conflict with other traffic is eliminated.