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How to drive a roundabout

 

Roundabouts are designed to make intersections safer and more efficient for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. There are two types of roundabouts: Single-lane roundabouts and multi-lane roundabouts.

There are a few key things to remember about driving roundabouts:

  • Yield to drivers in the roundabout
  • Stay in your lane; do not change lanes
  • Do not stop in the roundabout
  • Avoid driving next to oversize vehicles

Want to learn more? We have a five-part video available online. 
You can also download our Frequently Asked Questions brochure (pdf 1.4 mb) or our informational roundabout brochure (pdf 792 kb).


A single-lane roundabout on SR 9 in Skagit County.Driving single-lane roundabouts

Yellow roundabout ahead signAs you approach a roundabout, you will see a yellow "roundabout ahead" sign with an advisory speed limit for the roundabout. 

Slow down as you approach the roundabout, and watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Continue toward the roundabout and look to your left as you near the yield sign and dashed yield line at the entrance to the roundabout. Yield to traffic already in the roundabout.

Once you see a gap in traffic, enter the circle and proceed to your exit. If there is no traffic in the roundabout, you may enter without yielding.

Look for pedestrians and use your turn signal before you exit, and make sure to stay in your lane as you navigate the roundabout.

Watch a video of single-lane roundabouts. (.wmv)



 

An aerial view of the roundabout on State Route 203 at NE 124th Street near Duvall.Driving multi-lane roundabouts

Lane Control SignIn a multi-lane roundabout, you will see two signs as you approach the intersection: The yellow "roundabout ahead" sign and a black-and-white "lane choice" sign. You will need to choose a lane prior to entering the roundabout.

You choose your lane in a multi-lane roundabout the same way you would in a traditional multi-lane intersection. To go straight or right, get in the right lane. To go straight or left, get in the left lane. Drivers can also make U-turns from the left lane. 

The graphics below show what turns can be made in multi-lane roundabouts. The arrows in yellow show the movements that can be made from the right lane, and the arrows in green show the movements that can be made from the left lane.

Making a right turn    Going straight through a roundabout

Making a left turn    Making a U turn  


Once you have selected your lane, watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk as you approach the roundabout.

At the dashed yield line, look to your left and yield to drivers already in the roundabout. Remember, in a multi-lane roundabout, you must yield to both lanes of traffic.

Once a gap in traffic appears, merge into the roundabout and proceed to your exit. Look for pedestrians and use your turn signal before you exit. If there is no traffic in the roundabout, you may enter without yielding.

Watch a video on how to drive a roundabout.



 
A semi navigates a multi-lane roundaboutTrucks/oversize vehicles and roundabouts

Roundabouts are designed to accommodate vehicles of all sizes, including emergency vehicles, buses, farm equipment and semitrucks with trailers. Oversize vehicles and vehicles with trailers may straddle both lanes while driving through a roundabout. 

Many roundabouts are also designed with a truck apron, a raised section of pavement around the central island that acts as an extra lane for large vehicles. The back wheels of the oversize vehicle can ride up on the truck apron so the truck can easily complete the turn, while the raised portion of concrete discourages use by smaller vehicles.

Because large vehicles may need extra room to complete their turn in a roundabout, drivers should remember never to drive next to large vehicles in a roundabout. 

 

Learn more

Learn more about how to drive roundabouts by watching WSDOT's five-part video series on You Tube: