What You Need to Know: Traffic Rules for Roundabouts
With new traffic laws going into effect every year and the state legislature proposing new bills to keep motorists safe, it’s time we go back and take a look at the state’s traffic rules for roundabouts. In 2018, a study conducted by IIHS-HLDI found that around 51,000 crashes that year occurred on roundabouts. Of those 51,000 accidents, 231 were fatal, and approximately 34,000 involved injuries.
You may be like many drivers who come to a roundabout and proceed with caution because you’re not quite sure what to do or who goes first. But that’s ok! Roundabouts can be confusing, so that’s why we’re here to help you navigate them correctly. According to Alabama law, a roundabout is a circular intersection that usually does not include a traffic signal and flows in a counter-clockwise direction around a central island’. Now that you know that, here are a few things you need to know about navigating roundabouts.
1. Enter From the Right
Motorists, according to Alabama traffic laws, must enter the roundabout from the right-hand side. While entering from the right, you must yield to any vehicles already in the roundabout. Then, follow the circle to the right until you’ve reached the roadway you want to exit the roundabout on.
2. Yield To Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Like most other traffic situations, you must yield to pedestrians and cyclists when approaching a roundabout.
3. Proceed With Caution
Like we said earlier, not everyone knows the specific rules of roundabouts. That’s why our first word of advice is to proceed with caution. Approach roundabouts slowly and make sure you have an idea of what the other cars around you are doing. It’s important to wait for an opening in the traffic and only go forward when you are completely in the clear to do so.
4. Don’t Forget to Use Turn Signals
Remember to use turn signals when entering and exiting a roundabout. And, for roundabouts with multiple lanes, remember to signal before changing lanes to alert other drivers and avoid any accidents.
5. If you miss your exit, keep going
The biggest mistake you can make in a roundabout is to slam on your break because you’ve missed your desired exit. If you do manage to miss the exit you intended to use, just keep going. It’s a circle so your exit will come up again in a few seconds. Braking hard can cause the cars behind you to crash into you, which could lead to a multi-car accident on the roundabout.
6. One car at a time
If the car in front of you enters the roundabout, that doesn’t mean you should immediately follow them. Instead, come to a complete stop at the entrance and make sure you have a clear lane to go. Most roundabouts get busy and only allow for one car to proceed from an entrance at a time, so don’t try to speed behind the car in front of you.