According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Commonwealth currently has at least 40 roundabouts opened to traffic, however, an additional 51 are planned and are currently in different states of development.
State officials say that VDOT’s official review committee designated with approving roundabouts is averaging roughly one new review each week.
Though very common throughout Europe (there are roughly 20,000 roundabouts in France, and 10,000 in the United Kingdom), the United States has been slow to move in the direction of roundabouts, with only about 1,000 nationwide — with the first one being introduced to the states in 1990.
Virginia transportation officials, however, are embracing the modern solution to criss-crossing roads, calling them “one of the safest types of intersection designs.”
Still, many American drivers are not thrilled to approach a roundabout while driving down a roadway. To help ease anxieties at roundabouts, VDOT has issued the following tips for drivers maneuvering roundabouts:
- When approaching a roundabout, slow down. Look for street and direction signs posted along the roadside before reaching the roundabout.
- When arriving at the roundabout, yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles already in the roundabout. When the way is clear, you may enter the roundabout.
- While inside the roundabout, stay in your lane until you are ready to exit. Use your vehicle’s right turn signal to let drivers know what you want to do.
- Do not change lanes or take an exit before checking for vehicles that may be containing through the roundabout in the lane next to you or behind you.
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