Frustrated With Roundabouts in Billings? Here’s the Proper Way to Navigate Them
Residents of the Magic City were introduced to a group of roundabouts on Shiloh Road in 2013. Since then, Billings drivers have been frustrated with both the roundabouts themselves, as well as the drivers in them.
The truth to the matter is that most Billings drivers had never used a roundabout that frequently before 2013; the only one in the city was on Airport Road and 27th Street. The latest roundabout in town is located at the entrance to Zimmerman Trail, which motorists in Billings use frequently to have easy access to the West End.
Many people were, and still are, unaware of how to properly navigate a roundabout. I know I'm not the only one who has been cut off or otherwise startled by drivers who don't know the way of the roundabout. But, if navigated properly, roundabouts have been shown to reduce injury crashes by 75% at intersections previously occupied by traffic lights or stop signs. Here's the proper way to navigate them.
Slow Down and Yield
Roundabouts were only designed with an average speed of 20mph. If you go too fast, you can potentially cut off a motorist who thought they had proper space. It can also impede your ability to navigate properly through it.
Roundabouts are built for yielding in order to control traffic flow. Always wait until traffic is clear before entering a roundabout, and always assume that oncoming traffic is going to cross your line of travel, even if they end up turning at the exit. As always, also yield to pedestrians crossing at the crosswalks in a roundabout. They are purposely put outside of the circle to not hold up traffic inside the circle.
Choose The Right Lane on Approach
Always make sure you're in the correct lane for the roundabout BEFORE reaching it. And when inside the roundabout, make sure to stay in the lane you chose. Changing lanes in a roundabout can lead to accidents with traffic inside the circle, or with drivers entering the circle.
Pay attention to signs and markings on the road to determine which lanes you'll use when approaching a roundabout.
Once You Enter, Don't Stop
You have the right of way over all vehicles while inside a roundabout, including emergency vehicles. Do not stop moving until you leave the circle, or unless there are pedestrians in the crosswalk just outside of the circle.
If an emergency vehicle approaches the roundabout, keep driving. If the emergency vehicle takes your exit behind you, wait until out of the circle to pull over for the emergency vehicle.
I don't claim to be the perfect driver, however, this information is incredibly helpful, and residents of the Magic City should take something away from it. All information found in this article courtesy of this video from the Minnesota Local Road Research Board on YouTube.
h/t - KUAD-FM