How to Properly Use a Roundabout

Roundabouts may be daunting when approached, and their appearance may be confusing. You may wonder, do I need to stop? Should I use a turn signal? What lane should I be in? Are there even lanes?! The truth is roundabouts are a very beneficial thing to add to any city. They reduce delays and improve traffic flow, they are less expensive, long lasting, take up less space, and are overall a safer alternative to intersections.

Roundabouts typically result in a 37% reduction of collision, a 75% reduction in injury collisions, and a 90% reduction in fatality collisions. The biggest reason for this, is there are only 8 points of possible intersection in a roundabout. They eliminate miscommunication between drivers at stop signs, and drivers running red and yellow lights.

Roundabouts are all over the world and are showing up more and more in our communities. Big or small, you may be overwhelmed when approaching. Be calm, confident, and follow the 5 safety tips to properly using a roundabout.

  1. Always Yield

    Roundabouts are all about merging. There are no stop signs or traffic lights to signal the go ahead to advance. Instead, when approaching the circle, slow, or stop, looking at the oncoming traffic to your left, and merge into the flow. As a driver outside the circle, you yield to them, and should never cut anyone off.

  2. Use Your Turn Signals

    It is often questioned whether drivers need to use their turn signals on a roundabout. Just like a four-way stop, you need to signal on a roundabout. Signalling when getting on the roundabout should be habit, even if you only have one place to go. Once on the circle, it is extremely important to signal any lane changes, and to signal right while exiting to let other drivers know your intentions. Signalling which lane you will be exiting on gives the drivers behind you a chance to react, and the drivers waiting to enter the roundabout more time to plan accordingly for their merge.

  3. Pick Your Lane

    Larger roundabouts have multiple lanes, and there will be signs and markings indicating where each lane leads to which exit. Take note of the signs and indications so you can merge into the lane you need and avoid switching lanes while in the circle. The safest way to use a roundabout is to be predictable, and to stick to your area. If you are not sure the exit to take, or notice that you are in the wrong lane, go around the circle again, making sure you have lots of time and space to safely switch.

  4. Drive Counterclockwise

    This may be self-explanatory for drivers who are experienced with roundabouts, but for first-time users it may be confusing. Entering counterclockwise, or to the right, may seem odd or counterproductive if your desired exit is on the left, but doing so is what allows the roundabout to maintain its never-ending flow of traffic. Venturing clockwise will put you against on-coming traffic. Follow the signs, follow the other road users, and follow the flow.

  5. Never Stop

    The biggest selling point of roundabouts is that it gets traffic from all directions to their desired exit without traffic lights or stopping. Keeping the flow is the most important thing when using roundabouts, so if you realize you are in the wrong lane, don’t know what exit you are taking, or if you miss your exit, do not stop. Instead, go around the circle again to correct your mistake and keep the traffic moving. The only time stopping should occur within the roundabout is if you are doing so to avoid an accident.

CLG Injury Law has over 35 years’ experience representing Atlantic Canadians who have suffered injuries following a motor vehicle accident. For more articles and safety tips, go to or subscribe to our newsletter

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