If you’re new to town, you might be surprised by one of the European traffic circles, known as roundabouts. The city of Davis actually has five of these roundabouts, with more expected to be installed in the future.
There must be some good reasons for all these roundabouts, right? Indeed.
* Less serious crashes: Head-on and “T-bone” collisions are eliminated because of the circular rather than opposing flow of traffic. The angles of traffic interaction and slower speeds through the roundabout reduce the severity of accidents.
* Environmentally friendly: Since there is a more continuous flow of traffic, vehicles consume less fuel, emit fewer pollutants and there is less noise as compared to waiting at a traffic signal or stop sign and then accelerating from a complete stop.
* Increased traffic flow: Overall, more traffic can flow through a roundabout than through a conventional intersection with its stop-and-go traffic.
* Cost-efficient: When compared to a traditional intersection with traffic signals, the roundabout is less costly to operate.
* Aesthetically pleasing: Instead of just concrete, the roundabout centers can feature landscaping, flowering plants and perhaps even sculpture.
How to drive in a roundabout
* Reduce your speed. Always keep to the right of the splitter island (either painted or raised) on the approach to the roundabout.
* Upon reaching the roundabout yield line, yield to traffic circulating from the left. Watch out for traffic already in the roundabout, especially cyclists and motorcyclists.
* Do not enter a roundabout when an emergency vehicle is approaching on another leg; allow queues to clear in front of the emergency vehicle.
* Within a roundabout, do not stop except to avoid a collision; you have the right-of-way over entering traffic. Always keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counterclockwise direction.
* When an emergency vehicle is approaching, in order to provide a clear path for it to turn through the roundabout, proceed past the splitter island of your exit before pulling over.
* Maintain a slow speed upon exiting the roundabout. Indicate your exit by using your right-turn signal. Watch for and yield to pedestrians and bicycles waiting to cross, or crossing the exit leg. Be particularly considerate of people with disabilities, children, and elderly pedestrians. Do not accelerate until you are beyond the pedestrian crossing point on the exit.
— From Davis Department of Public Works, Traffic Division