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Travis Baker blogs about the problems and idiosyncrasies of Kitsap highways and byways.
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State, county have tutorials for driving in a roundabout

January 9th, 2013 by travis baker

The in basket: John Stokes writes, “I was leaving Silverdale today and when I got to the roundabout at Chico Way, I say a car facing the wrong way trying to turn left on Chico Way.  This is not the first time I have seen this.

“I also noticed a car stopped in the roundabout at the Manette Bridge, letting traffic into the roundabout coming off the Manette Bridge,” he said.

“Does the county or state have any plans to teach people how to use roundabouts, as they are becoming more common?” John asked.

The out basket: I saw the same thing once in the Manette roundabout. I can’t say if it was a different driver than John saw. It’s the wrong thing to do, but not likely to cause an accident, which going clockwise in a roundabout very well could.

There is a learning curve with any new traffic control, but both the state and Kitsap County provide instructions on using a roundabout,

The county’s is the best, and can be seen at http://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roundabout.htm

The state says the following in its drivers guide, the tutorial for all new drivers and a reference for any driver:

A roundabout is an intersection control device with traffic circulating around an island. Approaching vehicles must yield to the traffic in the circle. Always yield to pedestrians and bicyclists who are legally crossing the road. Inside the circle, always drive around the circle to the right.

How to drive in a roundabout:

1. Slow down as you approach the intersection; roundabouts are designed for speeds of 15-20 mph.

2. Enter the roundabout when there is a gap in traffic. Once inside, do not stop. Follow directions on signs or pavement markings about which lane to use.

3. You may exit at any street or continue around if you miss your exit.”

The county recommends signaling while approaching and while in a roundabout and readers often advocate it in contacting the Road Warrior column. The state is mum on that subject. It’s not required unless you change lanes, which doesn’t happen in a one-lane roundabout.

I find the speed and position of the car to be more helpful in predicting what it will do than what it might be signaling.

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4 Responses to “State, county have tutorials for driving in a roundabout”

  1. Mike from Roswell Says:

    Travis,

    I will signal only to indicate to a waiting car that I am exiting the roundabout, making my intentions clear to facilitate the flow of traffic. My pet peeve about roundabouts are the drivers who absolutely refuse to enter one without stopping first. These are probably the same folks who enter the freeway at 40mph, then drive 10-under in the passing lane, or come to a stop on the on-ramp rather than merge.

  2. Dan Calnan Says:

    Actually, the state web site makes it very clear that you are to signal when leaving a roundabout. Additionally, RCW requires a signal when changing lanes, turning, or exiting, all three or which you are doing when you are changing lanes and turning (exiting) out of a roundabout.

  3. John Says:

    To Mike from Roswell, Roundabout’s have yield signs on the not stop signs. You only stop if there is traffic preventing you from entering safely.

  4. Mike from Roswell Says:

    John, I am well aware of the functions of the roundabout, unfortunately, as I mentioned in my original comment, the timid, passive-aggressive drivers of this state tend to stop at the entry to the circle regardless of traffic, turning most roundabouts into very expensive all-way stops.

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You can reach Travis Baker at tvisb@wavecable.com

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