What’s the Deal With All Of These Roundabouts?

Photo Courtesy of RoundaboutsUSA.com
Photo Courtesy of RoundaboutsUSA.com

I’ve started noticing a trend. 2 trends actually. One of them is the number of roundabouts at intersections, the other is the number of people complaining about them. Roundabouts are mainly used in Europe where they are just about everywhere and here within the last couple of years, we’ve started seeing them pop up in Grapevine and Colleyville. There are currently over 3700 roundabouts in the US and that number is only going to get bigger. The reason for the roundabout gaining popularity is pretty simple, it relieves traffic congestion. In many parts of the DFW metroplex, there are problematic or dangerous intersections that have utilized the roundabout and made giant leaps in progressing towards less fatalities and crashes.

So why all of the confusion regarding them? Well, it’s pretty simple, we just aren’t used to them. We are used to 4 way stops at most intersections and that’s what we were taught in driving school. The roundabout is completely foreign to us.

Here are the rules of driving in a roundabout (via RoundaboutsUSA)

  • As you approach a roundabout there will be a YIELD sign and dashed yield limit line. Slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if necessary. (Editors Note: On some intersections, there will be a protected lane that will allow you to make an immediate right turn without having to yield or stop for other cars.
  • When you enter, yield to circulating traffic on the left, but do not stop if the way is clear.
  • A conventional roundabout will have ONE-WAY signs mounted in the center island. They help guide traffic and indicate that you must drive to the right of the center island.
  • Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.
  • Left turns are completed by traveling around the central island

Get used to navigating a roundabout, because they’re here and they aren’t going anywhere. Have you gotten used to the roundabouts yet?