Since 40 percent of crashes that result in serious injury occur at intersections, it’s good to know that research shows that roundabouts make traffic safer. Instead of head-on collisions, roundabouts deflect vehicles, sending them on an arc and usually lessening the force of any crashes. But drivers – especially new drivers – should know how to approach and drive on roundabouts safely. These following five tips might save your life, so read on!
- Always Slow Down When Approaching a Roundabout
- Give Way the Right Way
- Don’t change lanes in a multi-lane roundabout
- Resist the urge to give other drivers a piece of your mind
- Keep a safe distance behind trucks and other big vehicles
This is a common-sense thing to do, but many people don’t. When approaching any roundabout – even if it’s a wide, empty one – you should slow down. This will ensure you don’t lose control of your vehicle if you’re driving in rainy or otherwise difficult conditions.
In cases of light traffic, slowing down your vehicle can keep you from trying to enter the roundabout too quickly to make it in front of another driver, misjudging the speed and distance of one or both of you, and causing a silly accident.
Remember, when giving way, you only need to give way to vehicles that have entered the roundabout before you. Some people have the mistaken idea that they should give way to cars on their right – and as a result, wait much longer than is normal, as well as impeding traffic flow.
This can lead to dangerous situations, where frustrated drivers behind you either try to manoeuvre around and place themselves in a hazardous position, or honk and beep at you, potentially leading you to make a rash move.
Once you’re in, don’t change lanes to make an exit or overtake a slower vehicle.
Abrupt lane changing in a roundabout is a leading cause of crashes. You’ll want to be. in the right lane to go right or straight and in the left to go straight, turn left, or make a U-turn. Better safe than sorry!
It’s tempting to try to communicate with other drivers, whether it’s in anger or to give a heads-up about something. In a roundabout, this can be even more tempting, since traffic is usually slower.
That’s not a great idea, however, because taking your eyes off of what’s going on in front of you for even just a few seconds can mean not seeing a driver who’s coming into the roundabout without giving right of way or someone who’s executing a risky lane change right in front of you. So keep your eyes on the road – that applies to driving in roundabouts, too.
Large vehicles such as trucks will often use both lanes of a roundabout (if it’s a two-lane roundabout), and turns by trucks can be dangerous if your vehicle is too close to it. Keep yourself a safe distance behind such vehicles – there’s little point risking your car and your health.
That’s all – keep these tips in mind when driving roundabouts and you’ll reduce the risk – on your part – of getting into unpleasant situations as much as possible. Drive safe!