A roundabout is a circular intersection where two or more roads meet. Traffic circulates through them counter-clockwise, to the right of a centre island. All entering vehicles must yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
Roundabouts have a number of benefits over traditional intersections, including:
- Safety - lower speeds and fewer points of conflict between vehicles reduces the potential for serious crashes and injury.
- Lower speed - unlike at a green light at an intersection, vehicles need to slow down to use a roundabout, reducing the likelihood of a serious crash.
- Higher capacity - a high volume of vehicles turning left is handled better by a roundabout than by a left-turn signal at a traditional intersection.
- Fewer stops and shorter delays - yielding at the entry of a roundabout takes less time than waiting for a green light at an intersection or for a gap in traffic at a stop sign.
- Less idling and air pollution - fewer delays reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
- Lower maintenance costs - roundabouts eliminate maintenance and electricity costs associated with traffic signals.
- Aesthetically pleasing – there are opportunities for landscaping within the central island of a roundabout.
Approaching and driving through a roundabout
Approaching a roundabout
When driving towards a roundabout, slow down, please be mindful of others, and look for pedestrians and cyclists. There are a number of other important things you must do before safely entering the roundabout:
- yield to cyclists and any traffic already driving through the roundabout
- enter only when there is a safe gap in traffic
- stop if there are vehicles already inside the roundabout and the way is not clear
- when you have reached your exit, use your right hand turn signal and exit the roundabout
Driving in the roundabout
When you're in the roundabout:
- keep to the right of the centre island and drive in a counter-clockwise direction until you reach your exit
- never pass another vehicle in the roundabout
- don't pass large vehicles or change lanes
- don't stop inside the roundabout, except to avoid a collision
Leaving the roundabout
To exit the roundabout safely:
- remember to use your right-turn signal
- if you miss your exit, continue around the roundabout again and then exit when it is safe to do so
Pedestrians and cyclists crossing a roundabout
Pedestrians should always wait for gaps in the traffic and only cross when it is safe to do so. Never cross to the central island of the roundabout. Cross the roundabout one direction at a time traveling around the roundabout using the pedestrian islands and sidewalks.
Experienced cyclists may ride through the roundabout as if they were any other vehicle. Before entering the roundabout, cyclists should carefully move into the centre of the appropriate travel lane. They should stay in the middle of the lane until they are clear of the roundabout. Less experienced cyclists should dismount and cross the roundabout as pedestrians.
Large vehicles may need to use more than one lane when approaching, within and exiting the roundabout. Give large vehicles plenty of room to navigate within the roundabout. Do not pass a large vehicle when driving.
Within the roundabout, large vehicles may also need to use the truck apron. A truck apron allows large vehicles like trucks and buses more space to safely turn.
If you see an emergency vehicle while driving and have not yet entered the roundabout, pull over to the right if possible and allow the emergency vehicle to pass you.
If you are in the roundabout when you see an emergency vehicle, drive around to your intended exit. Leave the roundabout completely before you pull over to the right. Then let the emergency vehicle pass you. Never stop inside the roundabout.