The independent student media site of West Linn High School

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The independent student media site of West Linn High School

wlhsNOW

The independent student media site of West Linn High School

wlhsNOW

Roundabout ahead

A step-by-step guide to safely navigating a roundabout
Roundabouts are a natural road method to help ease traffic on the road.
Georgia Rozes
Roundabouts are a natural road method to help ease traffic on the road.

According to the Oregon Driver’s Manual, also known as rotaries or traffic circles, a roundabout is a circular shaped intersection around an island center, with the intention of being a safer alternative to traffic signals and stop signs. When a new roundabout is placed in an area that is unavoidable, drivers who tend to avoid them are faced with the inevitability of learning to navigate one.

Recently, a new roundabout has been built in West Linn, replacing the former three-way intersection on Willamette Drive. For some, a roundabout in such an area can be more of an obstacle than a way of speeding up traffic, especially if they are not well versed in using a roundabout. 

The new roundabout is somewhat small, meaning you must drive slowly and carefully, and give a fair amount of space to the car in front of you. Remember to yield to cars within the roundabout and do not drive straight over the traffic island, as tempting as it may be— it is illegal.

Step by step

As you approach the roundabout slowly, pay close attention to signs and pavement markings indicating exits and lane use, as all roundabouts are slightly different. Make sure to determine where you’re exiting before entering the roundabout by looking at signs that indicate the exits. 

When approaching the roundabout, yield to oncoming cars within the roundabout, as they are not expected to stop for you to enter. Wait for a gap before merging into traffic. Be prepared to stop if necessary. 

Move around the roundabout steadily until you reach your exit. According to the 2022-2023 Oregon Driver’s Manual, you should “indicate your plan to exit using your right turn signal.” However, many drivers do not do so, so stay patient and aware of the cars around you.

Bicycles

Allow bicyclists the full travel lane. Do not pass them inside the roundabout. If you are riding a bicycle, you are allowed to ride through the roundabout with traffic as long as you observe the same rules as vehicles. Additionally, you can also walk or ride your bicycle through the pedestrian crossings.

Two-Lane Roundabouts

In short, only vehicles in the inner lane of a two lane roundabout have an actual roundabout. Choose your lane in a multi-lane roundabout like you would in a normal multi-lane intersection, paying attention to the lane markings. Whatever lane you choose, stay in your lane until you exit. Do not make lane changes within a roundabout.

 

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Georgia Rozes, Staff Reporter
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