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Fuel for the Mindful Driver: Roundabouts

Posted in Fuel for the Mindful Driver, Questions and Answers

FUEL FOR THE MINDFUL DRIVER: About Roundabouts ‘Round Here
More and more intersections have been converted to roundabouts in greater Victoria area. They are designed to keep traffic flowing and have proven effective in many cities for years. However, Victoria drivers are taking a while to get used to them.

roundabout_graphicMost important:

  • Before entering the roundabout, the driver must yield to traffic approaching on the left.
This kind of intersection should not be confused with a traffic circle in residential areas – traffic circles are designed to slow traffic down and the driver yields to the traffic on his right and traffic already in the circle.
Most common problems with roundabouts :
  • Drivers often approach the circle too fast with little time to assess how many vehicles are coming from the left, and at what speed.
  • Then once in the circle, drivers tend to assume that the traffic on their right know to yield.  Not a safe assumption!
What to do:
  • Enter the circle with the speed to yield. Speed up once you have seen that it is all clear, and enter.
  • Make eye contact with the driver of the car approaching on your right to gauge if he has seen you and is yielding before entering.  When in doubt, cover your brake and horn so you can react faster.
  • This kind of intersection is still new to many people and few know how to navigate it properly.
  • It is better to protect both yourself and the other car, then it is to force your right of way.
  • Most traffic using roundabouts are traveling too fast for conditions. You do not need to keep up with them.
  • You should not want to be too fast nor too slow, so everybody cuts you off.
  • Use the GOLDILOCKS FORMULA: use the speed that is just right.
Here is a fun interactive diagram to help familiarize yourself with a roundabout intersection.