Roundabouts are one of the safest types of intersection options available. According to the Institute for Highway Safety, a modern roundabout provides a 39% reduction in total crashes and a 90% reduction in serious injury and fatality crashes. There are two design features that make rounadbouts a safer intersection option:
The circular shape of the central island reduces vehicular speeds and prevents high-speed, T-bone collisions common at traditional intersections
The splitter islands located at each approach also reduce traffic speeds upon entry, serve as a refuge for pedestrians, and instruct motorists to YIELD to all lanes and wait for a safe gap to enter the roundabout.
When driving a car: YIELD to pedestrians inside of the crosswalk. Pedestrians have priority to cross the road. Slowing your speed when approaching a roundabout will prevent rear-end collisions should you need to stop for a pedestrian.
When crossing the road as a pedestrian: DO NOT ASSUME traffic will stop for you. Always cross at designated locates that are marked. Never cross through the central island. Body language and eye contact is the key to safely crossing a roundabout. Use your arm and point in the direction of travel before entering the roadway. This action lets the oncoming driver know your intent. Once safe, cross the road briskly and deliberately and continue using your arm to point until you have finished crossing the roadway.
The same rules that apply to cars at roundabouts also apply to cyclists. When approaching a roundabout, maneuver to the CENTER of the lane, otherwise vehicles will pass you. Yield to pedestrians using the crosswalk and to motorists circulating inside the roundabout. Remain in the CENTER of your lane when circulating inside the roundabout. Use hand signals to indicate that you are exiting the roundabout.
When a large truck enters a multi-lane roundabout they will likely occupy both lanes to prevent you from passing. Trucks do this intentionally because they require more space to enter, circulate and exit the roundabout. DO NOT PASS a truck when circulating through a roundabout. It is important to respect large trucks by giving them space to maneuver inside a roundabout.