This is an excerpt from Inside the Bubble: Unauthorized Guide to Florida's Most Popular Community.
Roundabouts are very prevalent in The Villages. They serve multiple purposes such as keeping traffic flowing in an orderly fashion and increasing driver safety by preventing the possibility of T-bone collisions. However, because people retire to The Villages from all over the world, there is a good possibility that some residents have never encountered a roundabout.
In most cases, a roundabout is a circular intersection where vehicles travel in a counter-clockwise motion, generally in two lanes, around a central island. The most common roundabouts are four-way intersections, but they can contain even more roads in some instances.
Here are some basic guidelines for roundabouts that you may or may not be aware of:
Roundabouts are easiest to navigate when you know where you intend to exit them. Knowing where you would like to end up can be tremendously helpful when navigating your entry into the roundabout.
Perhaps the easiest way to travel through a roundabout is if you intend to make a right turn. In this instance, you should enter the roundabout in the right lane. This will take you into the outside lane of the roundabout and enable you to exit the roundabout at the next street.
If you intend to travel through the roundabout and continue straight ahead, it can be appropriate to use either lane to enter and travel through the roundabout. The only concern in this case is that you should make sure you stay in the same lane throughout and also be sure to use your turn signal when you are ready to exit. If you are exiting from the inside lane, be careful that there isn't a vehicle in the outside lane that intends to keep circling. Not everyone is aware of this guideline, so be careful in these situations.
If you are planning on using a roundabout to make a left turn or a full-circle U-turn, you will want to enter the roundabout in the left lane. You should stay in the inside lane until you are ready to exit. Once again, it is important to use your turn signal when exiting and make sure that you are not going to be hit by someone ignoring proper roundabout procedure.
As you approach a roundabout, you should slow down in order to yield to any traffic that is already in the roundabout as they have the right-of-way. When you pull up to the roundabout entrance, wait for a gap in traffic that will allow you to enter in a safe manner.
Near the roundabout entrance, you will likely see a road sign that will display a map of the possible exit streets. These guide signs also specify which lane you should be in to properly proceed to your desired exit.
It is a good general rule that if you expect to exit at or before the halfway point in the roundabout, you should enter in the right lane. If you expect to exit after the halfway point of the roundabout, you should enter it in the left lane.
General Roundabout Guidelines
In order to maintain the safety of everyone using the roundabout, you should make sure to avoid changing lanes or passing other vehicles in the roundabout. You should also make every effort to avoid stopping in the roundabout, unless it is to avoid a collision.
It is also a good idea to heighten your awareness of surrounding vehicles while traveling through a roundabout. Larger vehicles may have a more difficult time navigating through roundabouts, and there is always the possibility of a driver who simply neglects to follow the rules. You should be cautious to keep your distance from either of these situations.
The roundabouts in The Villages do a great job of both increasing the flow of traffic and reducing the possibility of dangerous collisions. However, as you can see, there are quite a few rules and guidelines that go along with their proper usage. It is easy to see how someone who is unfamiliar with these rules could cause an accident. Make sure that you are fully aware of how to properly proceed through a roundabout, so that we all can arrive safely to our next destination.
Want to learn more about roundabouts? Watch this short video: