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Don't drive like an idiot: This is how multi-lane roundabouts work

Just think of them like a regular intersection.

Roundabouts: Some people love them, some people hate them.

Wherever you stand, please use them correctly.

The circular intersections are becoming more and more popular in cities around the state. Richfield, which is just south of Minneapolis, already has a few and is adding more this year.

So GoMN met up with City Engineer Jeff Pearson to see what mistakes people commonly make with roundabouts.

Drivers

There are a couple things to think about as you're approaching a roundabout. First, look at signs to see which lane you should be in (if it's a multi-lane roundabout).

Then yield to vehicles coming from your left and pedestrians.

Once it's clear, drive forward and don't switch lanes.

"Yielding to both lanes (of traffic) ... and not changing lanes in the roundabout – those are the two main things that can cause crashes," Pearson said.

If that's still confusing, think of it as a regular, four-way intersection.

"Take out the circle in the middle," Pearson explained. "You wouldn't turn left from the right lane. You wouldn't turn right from the left lane."

Pedestrians

Roundabouts can be stressful for pedestrians, too. Especially since there aren't usually walk signals like there are at stop lights.

The main thing you have to remember is that pedestrians have the right of way and that vehicles should be going pretty slow. So you should just be able to cross at the crosswalk.

"I think it's just people are not used to asserting that right of way," Pearson said.

Some facts about roundabouts

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, roundabouts are actually a lot safer than other types of intersections.

They decrease crashes by 39 percent, and fatal crashes by 89 percent.

They are also more efficient than stop signs and signals in that they handle traffic with less delay. You just yield and go. There's no waiting at red lights.

Along with that, fewer idling vehicles means reduced vehicle emissions.

Now just be glad you don't have to figure out this crazy multi-roundabout roundabout in England.

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