We all have our pet peeves, and one of the biggest ones for me is many Montanans don't seem to understand how roundabouts work.

I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan but they're becoming more popular in Montana, especially in the bigger towns. Living in Bozeman, we're getting more of these traffic circles and as traffic increases, it seems the understanding of how they work decreases.

They say that roundabouts decrease traffic accidents by 80 percent, and while that might be true, we might want to have a refresher course on the "do's" and "do not's" when navigating what should be a simple procedure.

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Over the weekend, I was approaching a roundabout next in line to enter when I watched four cars behind the one in the circle follow him while the rest of us waiting just sat there with our hands up in the air. Is it the end of the world? No. Is it frustrating? Absolutely.

So what are the actual rules when it comes to roundabouts? According to the Department of Transporation, there are only a few:

  • Slow Down
  • Look Around
  • Be Ready To Yield
Credit: FHWA.gov
Credit: FHWA.dot.gov

Here's a few more things that drivers need to know:

  • Drivers must yield to traffic in all lanes of the roundabout,
    not just in the lane closest to them.
  •  If large vehicles like trucks or buses are in the roundabout,
    drivers should give them space and avoid driving next to them
    inside the roundabout.
  •  Drivers should follow the pavement markings to stay in the
    correct lane as they leave the roundabout. They should look
    around one more time for anyone in the crosswalk and be ready
    to yield as the drivers exit.

As mentioned, it's not that difficult so please, to all those driving on Montana roads, be nice, be thoughtful, and follow the dang rules.

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