Readers have been asking, every few weeks it seems, for a public reminder on how to exit a roundabout, specifically the one on North Albany Road. That’s because as the video shows, most of us are doing it wrong.
The most recent plea came from Pat Schlecht on Friday: “You might refer people to (the Oregon) Driver’s Manual regarding (the) proper way to exit a roundabout. Both the manual and (ODOT’s) brochure about roundabouts state that you should indicate your exit with a right-hand signal.”
That is, indeed, what the manual says: “Indicate your plan to exit using your right turn signal. Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk and be prepared to stop.”
Several years of casual observation and daily driving confirm Pat’s email: “That signal is rarely, maybe less than 10 percent of the time, used by folks traveling on North Albany Road.”
Part of the trouble at this roundabout, at the intersection of North Albany and Gibson Hill Roads, is that most of the traffic is on two of the rotary’s four connecting roads. Traffic on the other two is much less, so many drivers don’t expect anyone to enter the circle from there.
The other problem is the small size of the roundabout. Even at the recommended slow speed of 15 mph, it’s only a split second from the exit you don’t want to the one you do. By the time you’ve turned on your signal, you’re already exiting. And if you signal too soon, you might be inviting someone to enter the circle in front of you only to get hit.
Pat Schlecht is right, though, and so are the others who have complained about the widespread lack of roundabout signalling. We all should do what the driver’s manual says.
“I was also told,” Pat wrote, “when I moved to North Albany that cars here did not need turn signals as local stores did not sell blinker fluid anyway.”
So maybe that’s the problem. We’re trying to conserve. (hh)