Driving Through Intersections
Roundabout Rules

Driving Through Roundabouts

Updated Oct. 22, 2020

A roundabout is an uncontrolled intersection or an intersection controlled by road signs where traffic moves counterclockwise around a central island. Access to the roundabout is usually controlled by YIELD signs that may be duplicated with additional yield line pavement markings. Roundabouts are one of the safest types of intersections since they are designed for low-speed driving and all traffic is moving in the same direction and left turns across traffic are eliminated. Roundabouts can also improve pedestrian safety by offering a short crossing of one-way traffic moving at slow speeds.

Driving Through A Single-lane Roundabout

  1. 1

    Approaching the roundabout.
    Slow down before approaching the roundabout. If you see any pedestrians about to cross or crossing the street, let them pass before going through the crosswalk, pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way at a roundabout. Proceed past the crosswalk once it is safe to do so. Make sure you are able to clear the crosswalk, blocking a pedestrian crossing is a traffic violation you can be cited for.

  2. 2

    Yield to vehicles and cyclists that are already on the roundabout.
    Enter a gap in traffic when you see one. Remember, you have to move in a counterclockwise direction.

  3. 3

    Proceed to the desired exit.
    Don't try to pass anyone at the roundabout and avoid stopping.

  4. 4

    Signal your intent to exit the roundabout.
    Use your turn indicators or hand signals if the indicators are malfunctioning. If there are pedestrians crossing the street at a roundabout exit, stop and yield to them before going through.

Driving Through a Single-Lane Roundabout

If you missed your exit, don't panic and keep driving until you make another circle and return to the exit again.

Driving Through A Multi-lane Roundabout

Driving through a multi-lane roundabout is trickier than driving through a single-lane roundabout since you have to select the right lane depending on the exit you plan to take. Most two-lane roundabouts allow traffic in the right lane to turn right and go straight through the roundabout, while traffic in the left lane must go straight, turn left or return in the direction it came from. Most of the multi-lane roundabouts will have lane use control signs that will help you choose the right lane.

  1. 1

    Approaching the roundabout.
    Slow down and select the appropriate lane, depending on the exit you are planning to take. You must select the lane in advance while it is still allowed by pavement markings. Yield to any pedestrians crossing the street.

  2. 2

    Yield to traffic already on the roundabout,
    wait for a gap and enter it. You must enter the correct lane.

  3. 3

    Signal your intent to exit the roundabout
    as soon as you pass the street before your exit. If you are driving in the left lane, be aware of other vehicles that may be on your right.

  4. 4

    Yield to any pedestrians that may be crossing the street.
    Yeild to pedestrians and exit the intersection.

Driving Through A Multi-Lane Roundabout

Roundabout Traffic Rules For Cyclists

In most cases, bicyclists should dismount and walk their bicycles across the pedestrian crosswalk just like any other pedestrian. This is a safer option that should be chosen by most cyclists.

Roundabouts for Cyclists

Experienced cyclists may choose to cycle through the roundabout, obeying traffic rules just like any driver. You must yield to pedestrians and vehicles that are already on the roundabout. Ride in the middle of the lane so drivers will not be tempted to pass you. Avoid driving through multi-lane roundabouts, drivers traveling through the roundabout may not see you in their mirrors.

Roundabout Rules for Pedestrians

Roundabouts for Pedestrians

Pedestrians should only cross the street at a dedicated pedestrian crosswalk. Vehicles must yield to you, but do not assume the right-of-way, be prepared to yield if doing otherwise may place you in danger. Pay attention to vehicles exiting the roundabout once you are past the centerline.

Things You Should Not Do At A Roundabout

  • Do not change lanes in a roundabout
  • Do not stop at a roundabout if you can avoid it
  • Do not drive beside buses or large trucks or pass them
  • Do not travel in the outside lane further than allowed as it may create a hazard for the vehicle exiting the roundabout from the inside lane

Right of Way At Roundabouts

The rules that determine the right-of-way at a roundabout are very simple:

  • pedestrians crossing the street have the right-of-way, all drivers and cyclists must yield
  • traffic already at the roundabout has the right-of-way, yield before entering the intersection
  • emergency vehicles entering the roundabout have the right-of-way. Yield to emergency vehicles displaying red or blue flashing lights and sounding a siren when entering the roundabout even if you are already on it

Traffic Signs At Roundabouts

Most roundabouts are preceded by a warning sign ROUNDABOUT AHEAD (also known as the CIRCULAR INTERSECTION sign). The sign may be accompanied by an additional ADVISORY SPEED sign that will advise you on the recommended speed at this intersection. Most roundabouts were designed for speeds that do not exceed 15-20 miles per hour.

Warning Sign Before a Roundabout

Controlled roundabouts have yield signs at all entrances to the intersection, reminding drivers that they must yield to traffic that is already on the roundabout. Yield signs may be supplemented with yield-line pavement markings. Note: even if you do not see a YIELD sign, you still need to yield to pedestrians and traffic on the roundabout.

Yield to Traffic in The Roundabout

You may also see PEDESTRIAN CROSSING signs at crosswalks. Remember that even if you do not see these signs, you must still yield to all pedestrians crossing the street before you enter the roundabout.

Pedestrian Crossing Sign


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An intersection is a point where two or more roads join together. An intersection is an especially dangerous part of the road due to the fact that vehicle trajectories may intersect, which would automatically result in a crash. According to statistics, crashes at intersections, driveways and highway entrance ramps are the second most common type of traffic accidents, it comes right after hitting a stationary object.

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Controlled Intersections

An intersection is said to be “controlled” when access to the intersection is regulated by traffic signals or road signs, while access to an uncontrolled intersection is regulated only by the right-of-way rules. You must remember that traffic signals do not completely resolve traffic conflicts and you must learn to combine traffic signals and the right-of-way rules to avoid hazardous situations.

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Uncontrolled Intersection

An uncontrolled intersection is one of the most common types of intersections out there. An uncontrolled intersection is a road intersection with no traffic light or road signs to indicate the right-of-way.