(Photos by Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
Today we offer another lesson from Driver’s Education 101: Navigating roundabouts. Although long used in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, roundabouts are fairly a new concept of traffic control in the United States.
According to the Tennessee Driver’s Handbook, a roundabout “is an intersection control device with traffic circulating around a central island.”
They are currently in use in many residential areas of Johnson City to help slow motorists and to discourage cut-through traffic. Several roundabouts were recently installed on the campus of East Tennessee State University.
The state driver’s manual instructs motorists to do the following at a roundabout:
Always travel around a roundabout to the right in a counter-clockwise direction.
On approaching the roundabout, stay in your lane and to the right of the splinter island or yellow pavement markings/curbs directing traffic to the right.
After reaching the roundabout, you must yield to vehicles already within the circulating traffic. You should observe the standard right-of-way procedures as with regular intersections controlled by yield signs.
When inside the roundabout, proceed at a slower speed. You may exit the roundabout at any street or continue around again if you miss the street you wanted to turn on.
In a multi-lane roundabout, do not try to overtake or pass any vehicles. The roundabout is a low-speed traffic control device.
Exit the roundabout carefully and always indicate your exit using your right turn signal.
It’s also important to watch for pedestrians in or approaching the crosswalk on the street you are exiting onto and yield the right-of-way to them if necessary.