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How to Drive in a Roundabout

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If you’ve ever driven through Carmel, Indiana, chances are you’ve found yourself face to face with a roundabout. In fact, the city of Carmel now has more than 100 roundabouts, more than any other city in the United States.

But why? More commonly found in Europe (and referred to as “traffic circles” or “merry-go-rounds”), roundabouts still startle the average American driver. Cities like Carmel tout the studies that show that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop signs or traffic signals, reducing car accidents that result in injury by 75 percent and reducing car accident fatalities by a whopping 90 percent.

Still, if you live in Indianapolis, your encounters with roundabouts may only occur outside of Marion County. That’s about to change.

Since June, Carmel has been working on a roundabout at Keystone and 96th Street, right at the edge of Marion County. The roundabout isn’t expected to be completed until 2019, but it will affect the more than 85,000 vehicles that use the intersection every day. Thousands of Indianapolis drivers will have to get comfortable with roundabouts or find another commute — or else risk getting into a car accident.

So how do you actually use a roundabout? The Indiana state government has some helpful tips.

Approaching a Roundabout

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When approaching a roundabout, make sure to slow down like you would when approaching any other intersection. Try to avoid making any last-minute lane changes.

The key to approaching a roundabout is to yield. Always yield to the vehicles around in the roundabout, and yield to any pedestrians if there’s a walkway.

Entering a Roundabout

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In the United States, the flow of traffic in roundabouts goes counterclockwise. That means that, in order to enter a roundabout, you’re going to have to turn right.

You’re never allowed to make a direct left turn in a roundabout in the United States. Even if no one else is around, you’re still required to follow the regular flow of traffic and go right first, even if you’re trying to turn left.

Remember, the traffic already in the roundabout has the right of way. Make sure not to enter the roundabout until there is enough space for you to do so safely.

Multiple lanes of traffic can enter a roundabout. Watch out for signs that tell you which lane of traffic you’ll want to be in depending on which way you want to turn. If you’re confused, it’s always a good idea to remember that the leftmost lane will almost always lead you to the left, and the rightmost lane will almost always lead you to the right. If you need to go straight, find a lane with an arrow that points straight and stick to it. If there are three or more lanes, you can usually go straight by sticking to the center lane(s).

If you’re turning right at a roundabout, you’ll treat the intersection similarly to how you’d treat an intersection at which you have a red light and you’re allowed to turn on red. Slow down, make sure there’s room in the flow of traffic, and simply turn right and exit the roundabout.

Never Stop in a Roundabout

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In order to yield to traffic when approaching a roundabout, you may have to stop. However, once inside the actual roundabout, you should always be moving. If you miss your turn, that’s okay; continue through another cycle on the roundabout until you come across your turn again. You are not allowed to stop, back up, or move clockwise while in a roundabout.

Exiting a Roundabout

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To exit a roundabout, follow the flow of traffic depending on your lane and exit accordingly. Be sure to use your turn signals where appropriate.

Help from an Indianapolis Car Accident Attorney

Although roundabouts are fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it, not everyone knows the rules of roundabouts. If you’ve been injured in a car accident at a roundabout through no fault of your own, you may deserve compensation for your injuries. Call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for a free conversation about your car accident claim.