Don’t stop in a roundabout

The in basket: Dan Calnan says, “So, the latest roundabout head scratcher is the increasing number of people already in a roundabout circle, coming to a full stop and waving in others just approaching from another access.

“I see this most often at the Newberry Hill (roundabout), perhaps because it is relatively new, usually during busy hours. In my opinion, this really slows down the whole operation due to requiring a full stop with subsequent acceleration. I have almost rear-ended such vehicles never dreaming I would encounter this action.

“Funny, I never see people on a freeway come to a full stop and wave on a yield/merger from an on-ramp, just the opposite.

“Not quite as annoying but more common is folks approaching a roundabout and coming to a full stop every time no matter what, before proceeding to merge in. Really backs thing up having to come to a full dead stop behind them. Question, is this illegal or just plain bad driving?”

The out basket: I’m guessing Dan is asking about stopping in a roundabout to let someone enter, not stopping for no reason at one of the entrances. That’s legal, as at any yield point, but stopping when already in a roundabout to let another driver enter is not. If you get rear-ended trying to be courteous (or extra careful) in such a fashion, you’ll likely join the driver that hit you from behind in getting ticketed. Of course, stopping in a roundabout when you or traffic ahead in your lane is yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk is not only legal, but required.

Stopping in a road or street anywhere to let another car enter that street is illegal under RCW 46.61.570(1), and roundabouts get special attention in a state Department of Transportation web site on “How to drive a roundabout,” saying bluntly “Do not stop in a roundabout.”

One thought on “Don’t stop in a roundabout

  1. It would help move traffic into and through roundabouts (known as traffic circles in other parts of the world) if folks knew this simple rule–signal to exit, not to enter. I wish the respective municipalities would post a small-but-visible sign with this rule at each entrance to roundabouts.

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