Traffic circles tangled in misconceptions

Cowichan Bay – An article previously published in local papers erroneously states that motorists entering traffic circles must yield to vehicles coming from the left.

This creates a situation that increases the danger and frustration of using traffic circles. A string of 10 vehicles using this rule will follow one another into the circle while a vehicle attempting to enter from the next entrance must wait while all the vehicles in the string pass like elephants nose to tail.

The correct rule of the road on single lane circles is 1. to keep right and travel counterclockwise through the circle, 2. yield to vehicles already in the circle, 3. when two vehicles approach neighbouring entrances at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way.

The rule of yielding to the vehicle on the left applies to multiple lane traffic circles where the vehicle on the left has the right-of-way to move to the right providing that it is safe to do so.

Using the correct rules is much like a four way stop or uncontrolled intersection and provides as smooth accident free flow of traffic.

Therefore if a vehicle yields to the first or any other vehicle in the string of vehicles which is any part or all in the circle, then the next vehicle in the string of vehicles must give right-of-way to the vehicle on its right that yielded to the preceding vehicle of the string.

This would not be a problem with vehicles entering from opposite sides of the circle at the same moment, only at adjacent entrances.

Don Parker

Cowichan Bay