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Navigating Roundabouts

The following information was taken from the Government of Nova Scotia for the safe navigation of roundabouts.

Because of the low speeds, your risk of being in a collision or getting hurt is lower than it is in a traditional intersection. If you know the rules of the road, pay attention to those around you, and slow down you will do well.

As roundabouts become more common you will get used to how they work. The more you use roundabouts, the more confident you will become. Studies of roundabouts in the US suggest that they are safer than traditional intersections.

How They Work

Traffic in the roundabout has the right-of-way. You must wait for a safe gap in traffic before you enter the roundabout.

There are several things you must do when you use a roundabout:

  • Approach

  • Choose a lane

  • Yield at the crosswalk

  • Yield to traffic

  • Enter when safe

  • Signal intent to exit

  • Exit

  • Yield at the crosswalk

  • Proceed


Slow down. Roundabouts are designed for speeds of between 30 and 50km/h. Look for signs that will help you to find your exit. Watch for people using the crosswalk and be ready to yield or stop.

Choose a lane

Some roundabouts have 2 or more lanes. Follow the signs and road markings to choose the correct lane before you enter the circle. On multi-lane roundabouts, the lane you use to enter the roundabout determines where you can exit.

Remember to yield to ALL lanes of traffic in a multi-lane roundabout.


There are 2 places to yield when approaching a roundabout:

  • at the crosswalk - Make sure there are no pedestrians in your path before continuing to the roundabout.

  • at the entrance to the roundabout - Wait for a safe gap in traffic before entering the roundabout. Pay attention to ALL traffic coming from your left.

Enter when safe

Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic. Continue until you reach your exit. Stay in your lane at all times. Do NOT stop except to avoid a collision.

Never drive next to a large vehicle or truck on a multi-lane roundabout and don't try to pass one. Large trucks need a lot of room to turn. You can give them the room they need by staying farther behind them than you normally would with passenger vehicles.

Signal intent to exit

As you near your exit, use your right-turn signal to let others know you plan to exit.


Exit at a slow speed. Watch for people using the crosswalk and be ready to stop. If you miss your exit, keep going around the roundabout until you reach it again.

Remember -If everyone follows these rules, roundabouts can be a safe means of traffic control. Remember - Not everyone on the road understands these rules, especially when a new roundabout is introduced. Failing to properly yield before entering a roundabout and not giving right-of-way to the vehicle already in the roundabout is the most significant risk. Remember – Continue to drive defensively and always be alert and aware of other drivers.

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