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Editorial: The rules of the circle

So, if you’re making a right-hand turn, you should put your turn signal on when entering the roundabout and hop right out. Going straight? You still need a signal. Turn on your blinker as you pass the first exit (in the case of a four-way intersection). Also, maintain your lane as you exit, meaning if you started out in the right lane you should come out there as well, instead of crossing over the interior lanes and clipping the apex like a Mario Andretti wannabe. Sorry, but your Taurus does not need to employ tail breaking under any circumstance.

These rules are simple enough. Where chaos can really come into play is during the left-hand turn. First of all, in many two-plus lane configurations, taking a left will require you to cross over into another lane while in the roundabout itself. Think about it—staying in the left lane all the way could mean you’d cross over a lane of traffic trying to go straight, and the results won’t be pretty.

If it’s a multi-lane roundabout, you must always approach the roundabout in the left lane to make a left turn. From there, stay in the left lane until just before you approach you exit, where you’ll make your switch the right lane and then leave the circle. Don’t forget to signal!

There will usually be pavement markings and signs directing you, especially when it comes to making the tricky left. This has come to be the most troublesome part of roundabouts … in the Town of Malta, for instance, the DOT ended up changing pavement markings to eliminate a lane from a busy roundabout, making left turns simpler.

We’d advise all drivers, especially those who took driver’s ed before roundabout became common, to check out more on these circular wonders and the rules dictating their use at www.dot.ny.gov/main/roundabouts.

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