Many drivers don’t know the rules for entering and leaving a traffic circle. These road safety features are found at junctions and were designed to keep traffic flowing. But when there is confusion about what to do at a circle, the results can be traffic delays or worse still, accidents. In this blog, we take a look at how best to deal with a traffic circle to ensure road safety.
What is a mini-circle?
According to roadsafety.co.za, being aware of the differences between the types of traffic circles is key to knowing how to treat them. In South Africa, we have mini-circles and roundabouts. A mini-circle is small, it is an intersection with a painted circular hump or island in the middle that drivers go around in a clockwise direction. Unlike four-way stops, which have a solid stop line, mini-circles have a broken yield line. Drivers should treat mini-circles as they would four-way stops – they should give way to other vehicles that reach or cross the line before them.
What is a roundabout?
Roundabouts are larger circles. Like mini-circles, drivers go around clockwise, but at roundabouts, vehicles give way to traffic that’s approaching from the right. The Arrive Alive website states: “As you enter the roundabout, traffic coming from your right has right of way. This means that traffic streaming into the roundabout from the entrance to your right will keep coming as long as no one is coming from their right.” There are also more detailed instructions to help you drive safely when going around a traffic circle/roundabout:
When turning left (taking the first exit)
- Keep in the left-hand lane and signal left.
- Keeping on the left of the roundabout, continue signalling left and exit.
When going straight (taking the second exit)
- Select the appropriate lane as you approach the roundabout. If there are no markings on the road, it is safe to keep to the left lane.
- Keep in this lane until you want to exit the roundabout.
- After you have passed the first exit, signal left and proceed to exit the roundabout at the second exit.
When turning right (taking the third exit)
- Approach in the right-hand lane and signal right.
- Keep to the right on the roundabout until you are ready to exit at the third exit.
- After you have passed the second exit, signal left and proceed to change lanes and exit the roundabout at the third exit.
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