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Minnesota Roundabout Refresher

It seems that people have very strong options on roundabouts. They are touted as being a safer alternative, but a lot of people seem to think they just bring a different set of issues. Love them or hate them, roundabouts are everywhere, and many people seem like they might benefit from a refresher. 

Personally, I am not the biggest fan of roundabouts, but given their increasing prevalence, it looks like I had better get used to them, and brush up my skills.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has these tips for drivers to keep in mind when using roundabouts:

  • Slow down when approaching a roundabout. For multi-lane roundabouts, as with any intersection, get into the appropriate lane.
  • Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. It is the law.
  • Yield to vehicles already in the roundabout. Merge into the traffic flow when it is safe.
  • Continue through the roundabout until you reach your exit. Do not stop or pass in a roundabout.
  • Exit the roundabout immediately if an emergency vehicle approaches, and then pull over. Do not stop in the roundabout.
  • Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk when exiting the roundabout.
  • Give large trucks extra space in a roundabout. Large trucks may straddle both lanes while driving through a multi-lane roundabout.

According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, “roundabouts can provide lasting benefits and value in many ways. They are often safer, more efficient, less costly and more aesthetically appealing than conventional intersection designs. Furthermore, roundabouts are an excellent choice to complement other transportation objectives – including Complete Streets, multimodal networks, and corridor access management – without compromising the ability to keep people and freight moving through our towns, cities and regions, and across the Nation. The FHWA Office of Safety identified roundabouts as a Proven Safety Countermeasure because of their ability to substantially reduce the types of crashes that result in injury or loss of life. Roundabouts are designed to improve safety for all users, including pedestrians and bicycles. Most significantly, roundabouts reduce the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by 78-82% when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections, per the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual.”

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