Roundabouts are supposed to make driving easier. They’re designed to decongest crowded intersections, but they can sometimes have the opposite effect. Unfortunately, drivers often aren’t sure how to maneuver through a roundabout, which can lead to hesitation, congestion, and preventable crashes.
To help you navigate your next roundabout, our team has put together a quick guide explaining Buffalo roundabout etiquette.
The most important thing to know about roundabouts is that they do not act as a stop sign. Drivers are meant to yield to cars approaching from their left. If there are no cars in the loop, drivers are not expected to come to a complete stop unless there is a stop sign for pedestrian crossings (as is the case in some roundabouts in the City of Buffalo).
The second most important thing to know is that a roundabout is one way and runs counterclockwise. That is to say, if you’re approaching a roundabout and you don’t see any other vehicles, you always go right and follow the loop around to your exit.
While inside the intersection, remember that you have the right of way. A driver inside the roundabout loop should not stop or slow down for cars waiting to enter the roundabout. Doing this not only causes traffic congestion, but it can cause a crash if cars behind you aren’t prepared to slow down.
Likewise, if an emergency vehicle approaches a roundabout, simply follow the procedure. If you have not pulled into the loop yet, yield and wait. If you are already in the loop, pull off at the nearest exit and wait for the emergency vehicle to pass.
Next time you’re at the roundabout, stay calm and remember these tips. The roundabout is there to make your driving experience easier. So long as you remember when it is your turn to pass, you can reduce the likelihood of a crash and move through an intersection more easily.