If you spend any time traveling through the cities and towns of Ohio, and you'll notice a unique architectural feature on a number of roads: the roundabout.
While common all over Ohio, roundabouts tend to confuse a lot of drivers. It isn't uncommon for there to be a few close calls between drivers on a regular basis where roundabouts are concerned -- especially when inexperienced drivers are involved.
If you're unfamiliar with how to handle a roundabout, here are some tips:
- Go slowly when you approach. Many roundabouts are marked with stop signs at their entrance. Take them seriously, and don't enter the roundabout until you're sure you have the clearance.
- Watch for pedestrians. Other vehicles may be the chief threat to your safety, but pedestrians can be hurt by any vehicle -- even yours. Give pedestrians the right of way under all circumstances.
- Wait for an opening in traffic. Your job is to merge with the existing traffic, similar to how you'd navigate a highway's on-ramp.
- Stay moving counterclockwise. Do not stop to let other vehicles enter because that's likely to cause a collision from behind. Roundabouts are designed for a smooth, steady flow of traffic.
- Match the speed of traffic. Don't suddenly slow down to look for your exit. If you miss it, just circle the roundabout again until you come back.
If you happen to be in the roundabout when you hear the sirens for an emergency vehicle, don't stop. This is counter-intuitive to many drivers, but you're expected to take the nearest exit and pull off to the side rather than stop inside the roundabout itself.
If you're involved in a car accident inside a roundabout, it may be difficult to determine who was at fault. Consider getting some experienced legal guidance to help you better understand your rights.