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Roundabout FAQs

What is a roundabout?

A roundabout is a type of circular intersection where traffic flows in a counter clockwise direction around a center island. In Halton Region, our first roundabout will feature an inner and outer lane.

This type of intersection can be used in place of standard stop-sign or traffic light. However, not all circular intersections can be characterized as roundabouts.

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What is the difference between a roundabout and a traffic circle?

Other than sharing a circular shape, the “modern” roundabout operates much differently than its predecessor, the traffic circle, and was developed to fix problems associated with them.

A roundabout requires entering traffic to yield the right-of-way to traffic already in the roundabout, unlike a traffic circle where motorists inside the circle would yield to entering vehicles that often travelled at high speeds.

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Is a roundabout similar to a four way stop?

Not really. The main similarity is that both roundabouts and four-way stop intersections do not have traffic lights.

The differences include: four-way stops yield to whoever arrives first, or the vehicle on the right, roundabouts yield to the left - like a right turn on red - because the circulating traffic comes from that direction.

At four-way stops, each direction gets a turn in order. At roundabouts, each driver chooses a safe gap to enter and no driver "gets a turn."

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What do I do if I see an emergency vehicle in a roundabout?

Don’t panic. Pull over as far to the right as possible and let the emergency vehicle pass as soon as possible. If feasible, completely clear the roundabout and pull off to the side.

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Can roundabouts accommodate large vehicles and trucks?

Yes, modern roundabouts are designed to accommodate large vehicles such as farm equipment and truck transportation but remember these type of vehicles have larger turning radius than cars. Whenever possible, allow these large vehicles to enter the roundabout ahead of you and ensure they have clearance to occupy both lanes if necessary in order to manoeuvre around the around the roundabout.

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Will there be snow removed within a roundabout?

Yes, snow removal at roundabouts will be similar to snow removal at other intersections throughout the Region. There are generally no major problems with snow removal in roundabouts. In fact, roundabouts actually make it easier for snowplows to turn.

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When I’m driving, what do I do when I see a pedestrian?

Pedestrians go first so be sure to slow down and yield to pedestrians. If you need to stop, never block the crosswalk and allow pedestrians to walk across completely before proceeding. See “How to Use a Roundabout” for further instructions.

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How do I navigate around cyclists, when driving through a roundabout?

Some cyclists may choose to operate using the same principles as a vehicle within a roundabout, so please treat them with caution as you would any other vehicle, yielding to them as they travel in a counter clockwise fashion.

Other cyclists may choose to walk their bicycles through a roundabout similar to pedestrians. In this case, please treat them as you would a pedestrian, giving them the right of way at crosswalks.

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I missed my exit. What should I do !? 

Don’t worry, remain calm. In a roundabout, you can keep driving around without causing any disruption. Just continue around to your desired exit.

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