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Roundabout Safety Tips

These circular intersections where two or more roads meet can cause confusion and doubtfulness in drivers. Despite this confusion, they are designed to improve safety conditions for pedestrians and cyclists and decrease the risks of a serious collision as well as less idling and greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more about understanding how to use and navigate a roundabout, with these roundabout safety tips below with help from the Ministry Of Transportation Ontario (MTO).

Motorists

  • When entering a roundabout be sure to reduce your speed and keep to the right side of the splitter island.
  • Look for any pedestrians or cyclists that may be crossing the road.
  • Be sure to yield to any cyclists or vehicles already driving through the roundabout. They already have the right-of-way.
  • Be prepared to stop if the way inside a roundabout is not clear.
  • Only enter when it is safe to do so.
  • Limit any hesitation. If you aren’t sure if it’s safe to go, then wait a bit longer till you are certain.
  • Once you are safely in the roundabout, keep to the right side of the centre island and join the flow of traffic by driving counter-clockwise until you see the exit. When leaving the roundabout, be sure to use your right-turn signal.
  • Do not attempt to pass any large vehicles.
  • Avoid attempting to change lanes.
  • Do not stop in the middle of the roundabout, unless it’s to avoid a collision.
  • If an emergency vehicle approaches the roundabout while you are already in it, don’t panic. Try to avoid blocking it and drive towards the exit and leave the roundabout. Then, pull over to the right side of the road to let the emergency vehicle pass you.
  • If you miss your exit on a roundabout, don’t worry. You can keep going around till you find the exit again.

Cyclists

  • Similar to motorists, cyclists can navigate a roundabout by merging into the centre of the vehicle lane before the bike lane ends.
  • Continue staying in the centre of the lane.
  • Match the speed of other drivers in the roundabout.
  • Avoid riding in a driver’s blind spots.
  • If you are not up to riding in a roundabout, you can act as a pedestrian and walk your bike across the roundabout.

Pedestrians

  • Be sure to cross on roads that lead into a roundabout one at a time. Avoid crossing a roundabout by walking over the central island.
  • Patiently wait for a safe gap in traffic and cross only when it is safe to do so.
  • Pay close attention to your surroundings. Avoid distracted walking.

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