Sound Off

Sound Off: Roundabouts

If two cars arrive at a roundabout at the same time, who has the right of way? If a car is already proceeding through the roundabout, do they always have the right of way?

Roundabouts are circular intersections that allow traffic to move in a counterclockwise fashion only (as opposed to smaller traffic calming circles). Each roundabout is signed with “yield” signs indicating those entering the roundabout are required to yield to vehicles already within the roundabout that are close enough to pose an immediate hazard.


Water 1 year, 2 months ago

As a kid, I had a couple of slot car tracks. My favorite layout included an intersection. I'm thinkin' playing with slot cars on a track with an intersection and a roundabout would be fun! Of course the Lola would destroy the '57 Nomad on a track with a roundabout.


pace 1 year, 2 months ago

19th and Barker should be policed. 9 out 10 cars on 19 th fail to yield .


gatekeeper 1 year, 2 months ago

My mom always said in KS most people get their driver's license from a box of Cracker Jacks. Never understood how people don't learn the basic rules of the road and get a license.

At a roundabout, you yield to the traffic on the left.

Yield means the approaching motorist has to wait for a gap/break in traffice before entering (like our roundabouts). Merge means each vehicle takes a turn.

This state needs to take the driving exam and written test a lot more seriously and make sure people know how to drive and the rules of the road BEFORE giving them a license. Everyone should know what to do at a roundabout and shouldn't pass the exam if they don't. I'm a commuter and am constantly amazed at the idiot drivers I see every day. I am very thankful my grandfather was a truck driver and we were all taught at young ages how to drive and the rules of the road.


coolmarv 1 year, 2 months ago

though if I am waitng because of the right of way for a car on my left don't think I'm going to let the next 6 cars behind that one to also go on through. Those behind the car I am yielding to need to yield to me. I will always yield to prevent an accident though no matter others poor judgement.


coolmarv 1 year, 2 months ago

The answer to the first question is..."if my wife is anywhere near the roundabout then she has the right away".


mom_of_three 1 year, 2 months ago

If a car is in the roundabout, he doesn't have to stop to let the car in. Simple. The car waiting to enter should enter when it is safe for him to do so.
If there are cars who get to the roundabout at the same time on all four spots, if they all proceed at the same time, they should be fine, assuming one isn't going 50 mph.
traffic keeps moving, and everyone is fine.


msezdsit 1 year, 2 months ago

Who has the right away at a four way stop? This is very complicated for a lot of people. Now, throw in a roundabout and these people are lost forever. Its kinda like an IQ test for driving. If you fail you shouldn't be able to drive. This would be a great safety net for our streets and highways.


Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Beard, you have a real point: if you're on foot, a roundabout needs to be treated the same as trying to jaywalk: just wait for the car to pass because you can't expect the driver to see you. I have a friend who is blind, though, and since he can't see a car to wait for it, roundabouts are very problematic indeed. The visually impaired groups I know are really, really concerned about whether roundabouts can ever be made safe. The best attempts I've seen move the sidewalk crossing "downstream" a bit from the roundabout, have bright pedestrian signs and well marked crosswalk, but you're still dependent on an alert driver who is in the process of accelerating, having just come out of the roundabout and may not be paying attention. Don't know if pedestrian activated bright flashing lights would help, but maybe it would be a useful addition on routes where known visually impaired folks have to routinely cross the street.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 2 months ago

Pedestrians are endangered by inattentive drivers, period.


bearded_gnome 1 year, 2 months ago

... and roundies continue to be unsafe for pedestrians because there's no turn for them! also, visibility doesn't often favor their safety, given wher merging drivers are looking.

sure, you can site research, but often that uses models and models are only as good as their assumptions.

pedestrians are endangered by roundabouts.


Starlight 1 year, 2 months ago The Dutch town of Drachten adopted this “unsafe is safe” approach in 2007 and found that casualties at one junction dropped from thirty-six over the previous four years to only two in the two years following the removal of traffic lights. Traffic jams no longer occur in the town’s main junction, which handles 22,000 cars a day. The town is “Verkeersbordvrij,” meaning “free of traffic signs.” (I am grateful to Jonathan Zittrain’s reference to Drachten’s experiment in his new book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, and to Wikipedia for its account of “shared space.” )

What caught my eye was the explanation of why the elimination of strict rules can, in some circumstances, produce better outcomes. Hans Monderman, one of the pioneers of the shared-space approach, said, “When you don’t exactly know who has right of way, you tend to seek eye contact with other road users….You automatically reduce your speed, you have contact with other people and you take greater care.”

The idea is to return public spaces to people in order to encourage them to take greater personal responsibility. Monderman explained, “We’re losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior….The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people’s sense of personal responsibility dwindles.”

Who could have thought that the wisdom of Lao-tsu, in the Tao Te Ching, could be applied to traffic safety engineering?

Stop trying to control. Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself.

The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be.

….If you don’t trust the people, you make them untrustworthy.


Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 2 months ago

I like the fact that roundabouts prevent deaths and injuries. In fact, deaths and serious injuries are virtually unheard of at roundabouts, but unfortunately they are very common at intersections controlled by stop signs and traffic signals. But it is true that drivers need to learn how to use roundabouts, that is still a bit of a problem even though they are not new. The first one was built in 1909 in the UK.


juma 1 year, 2 months ago

Agree that very very few drivers in Lawrence know anything about these damn roundabouts. It is as Wind said; the car to the right has the right of way. The same as at all intersections that are open or with 4way stop signs. I for one cut-off more drivers that are to my left and speed into the roundabout. I say level the roundabouts.


Starlight 1 year, 2 months ago

If two cars arrive at the same time they are a quarter of the circle away from each other so can both enter the circle safely. Hell, four cars could enter at once safely if the circle were empty and they all arrived at the same time.

I don't understand why these circles are so difficult for anyone. The most asinine action I've seen was the old person stopping to let another driver in the circle. Just flat IGNORANT. Not at all courteous to the drivers slamming on their brakes behind them.


windjammer 1 year, 2 months ago

Sound Off only answered one of your two questions. In your drivers handbook and on your drivers test is that same question. Two cars arrive at intersection at the same time the car to your right has the right of way. The person answering your question probably didn't know the answer is why you didn't get a answer. If you ask ten drivers that question only about half will know the answer. How do I know that? Drive around Lawrence and you will find they not only don't know that law they know very few of them by the way they drive.


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