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Traveling Maryland's Roundabouts - Usage

How to Use a Roundabout

Click on the following links for how to use a roundabout while:

Driving a car


Turning right or exiting at the first exit around the roundabout:

Use only the right–hand lane if there are multiple approach lanes. Use your right–turn signal.

  1. Reduce your speed.
  2. Keep to the right of the splitter island.
  3. Watch for bicyclists and allow them to enter the roadway in front of you.
  4. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
  5. Move up to the yield line and wait for an acceptable gap in traffic. Do not enter next to a vehicle already in the roundabout, as the driver may plan to leave at the next exit.
  6. Within the roundabout, do not stop except to avoid a collision. You have the right of way over entering traffic. Always keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counterclockwise direction.
  7. Keep to the outside of the circulatory roadway within the roundabout and continue to use your right–turn signal through your exit.
  8. If there are multiple exit lanes, use the right–hand lane. Maintain a slow speed.

[Back to driving a car]

Going straight ahead (then exiting halfway around the roundabout):

  1. If there are two approach lanes use either lane. Do not use a turn signal on approach.
  2. Reduce your speed.
  3. Keep to the right of the splitter island.
  4. Watch for bicyclists and allow them to enter the roadway in front of you.
  5. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
  6. Move up to the yield line and wait for an acceptable gap in traffic. Do not enter next to a vehicle already in the roundabout. The driver may plan to leave at the next exit.
  7. Within the roundabout, do not stop except to avoid a collision. You have the right of way over entering traffic. Always keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counterclockwise direction.
  8. Maintain your position relative to other vehicles. Stay to the inside if you entered from the left lane. Stay to the outside if you entered from the right lane.
  9. Do not overtake other vehicles or bicyclists in the roundabout.
  10. When you have passed the exit approaching the one you want, use your right-turn signal and continue to use your right-turn signal through your exit. Maintain a slow speed.
  11. When exiting from the inside lane, watch out for leading or adjacent vehicles on the outside that continue to circulate around the roundabout.

[Back to driving a car]

Turning left or making a U-turn (i.e., exiting more than halfway around the roundabout):

  1. Use one of the left-hand lane if there are two approach lanes. Use your left–turn signal.
  2. Reduce your speed.
  3. Keep to the right of the splitter island.
  4. Watch for bicyclists and allow them to enter the roadway in front of you.
  5. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
  6. Move up to the yield line and wait for an acceptable gap in traffic. Do not enter next to a vehicle already in the roundabout. The driver may be exiting at the next exit.
  7. Within the roundabout, do not stop except to avoid a collision; you have the right–of–way over entering traffic. Always keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counterclockwise direction.
  8. Maintain your position relative to other vehicles. Stay to the inside. Do not change lanes until you are ready to exit.
  9. Do not overtake other vehicles or bicyclists when in the roundabout.
  10. When you have passed the exit before the one you want, use your right-turn signal and continue to use your right-turn signal through your exit. Maintain a slow speed.
  11. Watch out for leading or adjacent vehicles on the outside that continue to circulate around the roundabout.

[Back to driving a car]

Large vehicles

If you approach a roundabout in a car, do not overtake trucks and buses. Large vehicles swing wide on the approach or within the roundabout. Watch for their turn signals and give them plenty of room, since they may obscure other drivers' views.
[Back to driving a car]

Emergency vehicles

If you are in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle is approaching, go beyond the splitter island of your exit before pulling over. If you haven't entered the roundabout, wait until the emergency vehicle has passed.
[Back to driving a car]

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Driving a truck

To negotiate a roundabout in a truck, you may need to use the full width of the roadway, including mountable aprons if provided. Be mindful of all other users in the roundabout. Before entering the roundabout, note that you may need to occupy both lanes. Signal well in advance and make sure that others see you and are giving you consideration.
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Bicycling

Well-designed, low-speed, single-lane roundabouts do not present difficulty to bicyclists. On the approach to the entry, signal and merge into traffic. It is safest for you to claim the lane. Keep in mind that drivers in the roundabout should travel at 15 to 20 miles per hour, close to the speed you ride your bicycle.

Roundabouts give you three options:

  1. Ride like a car:  If you are comfortable riding in traffic, ride on the circulatory roadway of the roundabout like a car. Obey all of the same driving instructions. Watch out for vehicles crossing your path to leave or join the roundabout. Watch out for large vehicles on the roundabout — they need more space to maneuver.
  2. Walk like a pedestrian:  If you are uncomfortable riding in traffic, dismount and exit the approach lane before the splitter island on the approach, and move to the sidewalk. Once on the sidewalk, walk your bicycle like a pedestrian.
  3. Use a shared bicycle/pedestrian path:  Some roundabouts have a ramp that leads to a widened sidewalk or a shared bicycle/pedestrian path around the perimeter of the roundabout. Be courteous to pedestrians and yield to them.
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Walking

If you are a pedestrian you have the right of way within crosswalks at any intersections, including roundabouts. Do not suddenly leave a curb or other waiting place into the path of a vehicle if it is an immediate hazard.

  1. Walk around the perimeter of the roundabout. Do not cross the circulatory roadway to the central island.
  2. Use the crosswalks on the legs of the roundabout. If there is no marked crosswalk, cross the leg about one vehicle-length away from the circulatory roadway of the roundabout.
  3. Look and listen for approaching traffic. Choose a safe time to cross from the curb ramp to the median opening. Although you have the right of way, if approaching vehicles are present, satisfy yourself that drivers recognize your presence and right to cross. When crossing an entry or exit with more than one lane, be sure that conflicting vehicles in adjacent lanes come to a complete stop before proceeding.
  4. Use the splitter island. It allows you to cross one direction of traffic at a time.
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Adapted from: Federal Highway Administration, Roundabouts: An Informational Guide, Report No. FHWA–RD–00–067, June 2000.

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