How to drive around a roundabout

  • Friday, August 27, 2021 1:30am
  • News

As an adjective, “roundabout” means “not following a short, direct route.”

Don’t treat a traffic roundabout as an adjective.

Roundabouts aren’t new, but they’re fairly new on Bainbridge Island, and soon there will be a lot more of them on BI and Poulsbo. Highway 305 between the two cities is getting a bunch of them.

So it’s good to know beforehand what to do when you run into one. You don’t want to suddenly get there then try to go about it in a roundabout way. You need to know your way around a roundabout.

The state Department of Transportation offers the following advice:

Roundabouts are designed to make intersections safer and more efficient for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Key things to remember: Yield to drivers already in the roundabout, do not change lanes, do not stop and avoid driving next to oversized vehicles.

There are two types of roundabouts: single- and multi-lane.

As you approach a single-land roundabout, you will see a yellow “roundabout ahead” sign with an advisory speed limit. Slow down, and watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Look to your left as you near the yield sign and dashed yield line at the entrance to the roundabout. Yield to traffic already in the roundabout. Once you see a gap in traffic, enter the circle and proceed to your exit. Look for pedestrians and use your turn signal before you exit, and make sure to stay in your lane as you navigate the roundabout. You can also make a U-turn by going all around the roundabout.

As you approach a multi-lane roundabout, you will see two signs: The yellow “roundabout ahead” sign and a black-and-white “lane choice” sign. You will need to choose a lane prior to entering the roundabout. To go straight or right, get in the right lane. To go straight or left, get in the left lane. Drivers can also make U-turns from the left lane.

Once you select your lane, watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk. At the dashed yield line, look to your left and yield to drivers already in the roundabout. Remember, in a multi-lane roundabout, you must yield to both lanes of traffic. Once a gap in traffic appears, merge into the roundabout and proceed to your exit. Look for pedestrians and use your turn signal before you exit.

To learn more, WSDOT has a five-part video series on You Tube.

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