NOVEMBER 1, 2017
Roundabouts seem to be popping up all over Rochester, MN and surrounding areas, including where we live in Byron.
Every day as I drive into Rochester on County Road 4 (Valleyhigh Road), I get to try my skills at the new roundabout that was created last year. I also get to watch others as they try to understand it and maneuver through it. I have seen everything from an old truck driving on the pavers around the middle of the roundabout to traffic stopping for me when I am supposed to be yielding to them, to someone just this week coming into my lane on the dual lane roundabout.
Why have they started to become more popular? What is the purpose of the roundabout? Are you able to navigate them well–even the dual lane roundabouts? Why is there such confusion? Why do they seem to make motorists nervous?
PURPOSE AND POPLULARITY
The purpose of a roundabout, if maneuvered how they were designed, is to allow traffic to flow smoothly and quickly. Because you simply move in a circle to the right, after yielding to traffic coming from the left, there is no need to cut across traffic or stop abruptly as you do with a traffic light. This design has been found to decrease accidents and thereby, injuries and fatalities greatly. Simply put, roundabouts save lives.
CONFUSION AND NERVOUSNESS
Roundabouts are new to us. Anything new requires time for adjustment. Rather than be confused or nervous, read about roundabouts, how they are supposed to work and how to use them. As you approach the roundabout, plan ahead—watch other motorists within the circle and judge from afar what your role will be as you come to the yield sign. If there is nobody coming from the left side of your vehicle, you are free to proceed without stopping. Stopping and waiting when there are no cars, trucks or SUVs approaching, contradicts the purpose of the roundabout. The whole point is smooth traffic flow. So make sure you do your part to “go with the flow”.
Click here to tell us about your experience with roundabouts.