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How Roundabouts Work

By: Clint Pumphrey

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Author's Note: How Roundabouts Work

Count me among the drivers once skeptical of roundabouts. It all started on a trip to New Zealand with my grandparents, who rented a car to drive – on the left side of the road – across the countryside. With me in the navigator's seat, things were going surprisingly well until we encountered a multi-lane roundabout. I froze, hopelessly confused in the web of legs that seemed to branch off in 20 different directions. We drove around and around and around, weaving in and out of traffic until we finally managed to exit and find a pull off where we could reorient ourselves. Of course, that was 15 years ago and I had little experience with roundabouts in the United States. Now there are several in my community, and I've grown quite fond of them. And, as writing this article has shown me, the more you think about them, the more sense they make. So embrace the roundabout!

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More Great Links

  • Federal Highway Administration. "Roundabouts: An Informational Guide." June 2000. (Dec. 5, 2016) https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/00067/00067.pdf
  • Federal Highway Administration, "Roundabouts." April 13, 2014. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/research/deployment/roundabouts.cfm
  • Guinness World Records. "Largest Roundabout." Bantam Books. 2013. (Dec. 10, 2016) https://books.google.com/books?id=N2ExOXxw6cAC
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Even Skeptical Drivers End Up Being Fans of Roundabouts." July 28, 2001. (Dec. 7, 2016) http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/36/7/2
  • Lewis, Olivia. "Carmel Man Seeks World Record for Time Spent Driving in a Roundabout." Indianapolis Star. Nov. 6, 2015. (Dec. 9, 2016) http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2015/11/06/carmel-man-seeks-world-record-roundabout/75223336/
  • Marshall, Aarian. "The Brilliant Sorcery of England's 7-Circle Magic Roundabout." Wired. Aug. 3, 2016. (Dec. 10, 2016) https://www.wired.com/2016/08/brilliant-sorcery-englands-7-circle-magic-roundabout/
  • Metcalfe, John. "Why Does America Hate Roundabouts?" CityLab. March 10, 2016. (Dec. 8, 2016) http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/03/america-traffic-roundabouts-street-map/408598/
  • National Motorists Association. "Is It the 'Golden Age' for Roundabouts?" NMA E-newsletter No. 367. Jan. 24, 2016. (Dec. 9, 2016) https://www.motorists.org/alerts/is-it-the-golden-age-for-roundabouts-nma-e-newsletter-367/
  • Nevada Department of Transportation. "Driving in a Roundabout." 2015. (Dec. 6, 2016) https://www.nevadadot.com/safety/roundabout/driving.aspx
  • Nevada Department of Transportation. "Roundabout Benefits." 2015. (Dec. 6, 2016) https://www.nevadadot.com/safety/roundabout/benefits.aspx
  • Waddell, Edmund. "Evolution of Roundabout Technology: A History-Based Literature Review." (Dec. 8, 2016) http://www.k-state.edu/roundabouts/research/Waddell.pdf
  • Washington State Department of Transportation. "How to Drive a Roundabout." 2016. (Dec. 5, 2016) https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Safety/roundabouts/default.htm
  • Washington State Department of Transportation. "Roundabout Benefits." 2016. (Dec. 7, 2016) https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Safety/roundabouts/benefits.htm