How to Use a Roundabout

Frequently Asked Questions

The best way to think about driving through a roundabout is to compare it with driving through a conventional intersection. As you approach the roundabout, look for signs and pavement markings to help determine which lane you should be in based on your intended destination. If you want to turn left or go straight, stay to the left. If you want to turn right, stay to the right. Look for signs and pavement markings to guide you. Multi-lane roundabouts have arrows showing the direction you can travel depending on what lane you are in. And always remember to yield to traffic already in the roundabout. It's that easy!

Explore the images below to learn more:

How do I go straight?

Roundabouts - Going Straight

In a two-lane roundabout, you can use either the left lane or right lane to go straight. After entering the roundabout, follow the curve to the right and proceed straight.

How do I make a right turn?

Roundabouts - Going Straight

As you approach the roundabout, make sure you are in the right lane (if there are two lanes). After entering the roundabout, take the first exit to your right.

How do I use a roundabout on a bicycle?

Roundabouts - Going Straight

If you are experienced riding with traffic, follow the same path through the roundabout as a vehicle, observing all the same rules of the road. You may also choose to walk your bike through a pedestrian crossing.

How do I make a left turn?

Roundabouts - Going Straight

Before you reach the roundabout, make sure you are in the left lane (if there are two lanes). After entering the roundabout, drive around the curve to the third exit. If you are in a two-lane roundabout, make sure there is no traffic in the outside lane before you exit. You'll have driven around three quarters of the circle.

How do I make a U-turn?

Roundabouts - Going Straight

As you approach the roundabout, make sure you are in the left lane (if there are two lanes). After entering the roundabout, drive around the curve all the way to the point where you entered to reverse direction. Again if you are in a two-lane roundabout, make sure there is no traffic in the outside lane before you exit.

How do I use a crosswalk at a roundabout?

Roundabouts - Going Straight

Roundabouts are safer for pedestrians because you only have one direction of traffic at a time when crossing the street. Use the crosswalk when there is sufficient time to reach the small medians that separate lanes of traffic coming in and leaving the roundabout. You'll have a safe place to wait to finish crossing the intersection.

Interactive Tour of R.I.'s Roundabouts

Roundabout Story Map

Friendly to Trucks and Other Large Vehicles

All roundabouts are designed with an "apron" around the center island that is flush or nearly so with the driving surface.

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Cars don't drive in this area, but trucks can, allowing the largest tractor trailers, fire trucks, campers and other large vehicles to easily navigate through the circle.

The apron is often made of decorative materials such as stamped croncrete or pavers, improving the appearance of the roundabout.

Check out this video showing how trucks - even those with oversized loads - can navigate through a roundabout: