Using Roundabouts Safely
According to the Montana Department of Transportation, there are several easy rules to follow when traveling in areas that have traffic circles, rotaries, or roundabouts. http://www.mdt.mt.gov/visionzero/roads/roundabouts/motor_vehicle.shtml.
No matter what you call them, keep these tips in mind:
1. Approach the rotary in the right lane (outer lane) if you intend to turn right, be in the left approach lane (inner lane) if you intend on making a left or U-turn, and either lane is ok to use if you are proceeding straight. (unless otherwise posted).
2. Upon approaching the roundabout, stay to the right of the splitter island and SLOW DOWN to a speed between 10 and 15 mph.
3. Watch for bicyclists and allow for them to merge into the entry lane.
4. Watch for and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
5. YIELD to traffic already in the traffic circle.
6. Once you’re in the rotary, do not stop, except to avoid a collision; you have the right-of-way over entering traffic. Always keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counterclockwise direction. Maintain a slow speed and DO NOT PASS other vehicles.
7. Look for your street, use your right-turn signal and exit the traffic circle.
8. As you exit the roundabout, watch for and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
If you are approaching the rotary, pull over only if there is room for the emergency vehicle to get by. If there isn’t room to pull over, continue around, and exit as normal. Then, pull to the right where there is room for the emergency vehicle to pass. Do not stop inside the roundabout.
With the increase of roundabouts in the valley, it is important to remember how to safely navigate them – especially during hurried holiday traffic.