Birdseye view of roundabout intersection

How to Safely Navigate a Roundabout in Vancouver

You probably don’t dedicate too much thought on the “how tos” of navigating a roundabout. In fact, it likely doesn’t cross your mind until you’re staring one down through your windshield, blinkers flashing and foot hovering the brake pedal. That’s when the panic seems to set in for most Vancouver drivers. And since roundabouts only came to the Lower Mainland in the year 2000, not all drivers feel confident in their ability to use them properly. But it’s never too late to learn! If you’re in need of a roundabout refresher, here’s everything you need to know about these circular intersections of fluidity.

What is a Roundabout?

If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right and start with the basics. A roundabout is circular intersection with an island at its centre. There are no lights, stop signs, or electrical signals giving way to drivers. Rather, the entrance to a roundabout relies on drivers yielding to traffic in the roundabout prior to joining the circle. In Canada, traffic moves in a counter-clockwise motion around the central island.

These forms of intersections are becoming increasingly popular across BC and Canada. Why? Because they are designed to keep traffic moving in a way that is safe and controlled. They also reduce the frequency of backups during bouts of heavy traffic, unlike intersections controlled by traffic lights, 4-way stops, etc. Lastly, the amount of conflict points are minimized in a roundabout, lessening the chances of you being in a collision.

However, this is only true if you know how to properly navigate a roundabout. Trust us, it’s simple as can be once you get it. So simple in fact that the next time you’re stuck at a red light, you’ll be wishing a roundabout would fall in its place.

Rules of the Roundabout

1.     Approach

Slow down and watch for road signs, pedestrians, cyclists, and other cars. If you’re approaching a multi-lane roundabout, choose your lane based on your designated exit. When turning left or going straight from where you currently stand, use the left lane. When turning right or going straight from where you currently stand, use the right lane.

2.     Yield

This is a very important detail that, when missed, can lead to a collision. And as much as we love to see you in our auto body shop in Vancouver, our priority is to keep you safe. So, before entering the roundabout, yield to oncoming traffic. Wait for a safe gap in traffic before entering, remembering that the drivers in the roundabout have right of way.

3.     Enter

When safe to do so, enter the roundabout by turning right to follow the counter-clockwise motion of traffic. Continue driving through until you reach your intended exit.

4.     Exit

Before exiting, use your right turn signal to indicate to other drivers that you’re leaving the roundabout. As always, keep a lookout for pedestrians and cyclists, being prepared to stop at a crosswalk if needed.

The Don’ts of a Roundabout

We’ve covered the dos of roundabouts, now here are a few don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Don’t stop inside a roundabout unless the traffic conditions require you to do so.
  • Don’t pull over in a traffic circle. Should an emergency vehicle enter the ring, continue to your intended exit, only stopping before entering or after exiting the roundabout, never within.
  • Don’t change lanes when driving through a roundabout.

Consult Our Auto Body Shop in Vancouver

Accidents happen. Whether it’s when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, navigating a parking lot, or driving through a roundabout, Grandcity Autobody are here to help. Our auto body shop in Vancouver and Richmond can help revert your vehicle back to its pre-collision condition – safely, efficiently, and affordably. To learn more about our auto body repair, contact our shop today!