I'm Staff Sergeant Jan Idzenga of the Ontario Provincial Police, and I'm here to talk to you about roundabouts.

Roundabouts are an alternative form of intersection control. They are designed to improve traffic flow and reduce collisions, and they're better for the environment too.

Roundabouts are also easy to drive.
Based on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, personal injury collisions at intersections can be reduced by 75% and fatal collisions by 90% by the use of roundabouts.

This is due to slower speeds and the elimination of turning movements. It's highly unlikely you would be involved in a head-on collision or angle collision in a roundabout, as vehicles are traveling slower in the same direction on the circulatory roadway.

Roundabouts can reduce pollution, fuel consumption, and delays by reducing idling time and unnecessary stops.

Roundabouts are designed to allow for continuous flow, unlike traditional intersections, where vehicles are forced to stop and wait for their turn, even when there is no opposing traffic.

When approaching a roundabout, you are required to yield to vehicles already in the circulatory roadway, but if there is an adequate gap in the circulating traffic, you are not required to stop.
Here are some basic instructions for using roundabouts:
As you approach the roundabout, slow down, and pull into the proper lane depending on your destination - if you are going to turn right, you have to be in the right lane; if you are going to turn left, position yourself in the left lane; if you are going straight you can enter either the left or the right lane.

Pay attention to all signs and pavement markings, watch for pedestrians and cyclists, and take note of vehicles already in or waiting to enter the roundabout.

If there is more than one lane entering the roundabout, make sure that you are in the correct lane for your intended destination.

Traffic already in the roundabout always has the right-of-way. When approaching the roundabout, pay special attention to any bicycles or pedestrians crossing the roadway, and YIELD to vehicles in the circulatory roadway as they have the right-of-way.

Adjust your speed or stop at the yield sign if necessary.
Watch for a safe opportunity to enter the roundabout. Enter only when there is an adequate gap in the circulating traffic.
Once in the roundabout, always keep to the right of the central island (in the appropriate lane) and travel in a counterclockwise direction. Don't change lanes within the roundabout.

Do not stop in the roundabout, except to avoid a collision, you have the right-of-way over entering traffic.
Use your right-turn signal to indicate your intent to exit the roundabout; do so just after you pass the exit prior to the one that you intend to use, and ensure that there are no vehicles on your right impeding your exit.

When exiting be aware of any pedestrians who may be crossing the exit lane.

If you miss your exit, continue carefully around the roundabout until you reach your exit again.

A U-Turn move can also be performed at a roundabout by simply staying in your lane until you reach the direction you came from.

To recap - slow down as you approach the roundabout; move into the proper lane; be prepared to stop for any cyclists and pedestrians crossing or intending to cross the roadway; yield to circulating traffic coming from your left; enter to the right of the centre island in a counterclockwise direction; and signal your exit.
It's just that simple!

Now, let's go over a few more features of the roundabouts and how to use them safely.

Some people think that roundabouts aren't designed to handle large vehicles.
But there are features built into the roundabouts that allow vehicles like buses, and tractor trailers to navigate the roundabouts easily.

The slightly raised area around the outside of the central island is called the "truck apron," and is designed to accommodate large vehicles.
If you see a truck or a bus with its back wheel up on the apron, don't worry - that's what the truck apron is there for.

Also, large vehicles may have to use more than one lane on the approach or within the roundabout to make a turn. All drivers should be aware of these features at a roundabout, and you should always give large vehicles plenty of room to manoeuvre.

What about emergency vehicles?

If you have not yet entered the roundabout, pull over to the right, if possible, and wait until the emergency vehicle has passed before proceeding.

If you are in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle approaches, take your intended exit and proceed beyond the splitter island before pulling over as far as you safely can to stop, to the right side of the roadway allowing the emergency vehicle to pass.

Splitter islands at the entrance to the roundabout guide traffic to enter the circulatory roadway to the right of the central island and in a counterclockwise direction.

Splitter islands also allow pedestrians to cross one direction of traffic at a time. Pedestrians should wait for a safe gap in traffic, and then walk to the splitter island. Then, cross from the splitter island to the far side of the road, when a safe gap in the traffic occurs.

Not all pedestrian crossings at roundabouts are marked. If the pedestrian crossing is marked, pedestrians should indicate their intention to cross to the approaching driver; ensure that the driver stops before proceeding to cross the roadway; do not enter the roadway until the vehicle stops.

Cyclists have two options when traveling through roundabouts:

For experienced cyclists, use the roundabout as if you were a vehicle. Signal your intent to merge into the middle of the appropriate approach lane prior to entering the roundabout. Stay in the middle of that lane. Follow all the rules that apply to vehicles.

Less experienced cyclists, should dismount ahead of the roundabout, and walk with their bicycle, following the same rules that apply to pedestrians.

Let's review the roundabout driving instructions one more time.

Slow down, move into the correct approach lane, yield to any pedestrians crossing and any vehicles already circulating in the roundabout. Follow the signs and pavement markings, and proceed in a counterclockwise direction. Stay to the right of the centre island in the appropriate lane, and signal your exit. Remember that vehicles inside the roundabout have the right-of-way. Larger vehicles need to be given lots of room to manoeuvre, and emergency vehicles must be given the right-of-way once other vehicles have exited the roundabout.

Thanks for joining me on this informative look at roundabouts. And remember to always yield before entering a roundabout, and drive safely.

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