Research Recommendations for Roundabout Negotiation Now in Revised Driver’s Manual

January 16, 2011

Drivers who have encountered a roundabout and felt uncertain about the correct course of action are not alone, it seems. Dr. Aemal Khattak, associate professor of Civil Engineering, with Karen Schurr, Civil Engineering lecturer, and Dr. Ram Bishu, professor of Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, conducted a survey of five Nebraska cities (Lincoln, Omaha, Blair, Norfolk, and Plattsmouth) in order to determine roundabout elements and identify characteristics of drivers who are more likely to incorrectly navigate roundabouts. This project, titled “Investigation and mitigation of driver confusion at modern roundabouts,” was sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Roads.

The majority of the survey respondents indicated that, to mitigate confusion at roundabouts, they would like to receive information on proper negotiation via the Nebraska Driver’s Manual. After consultation with the relevant Nebraska Department of Roads officials, the research team submitted recommendations on roundabout negotiation to the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles for inclusion in the Nebraska Driver’s Manual. Those recommendations were recently incorporated into the revised 2010 Nebraska Driver’s Manual. NTC applauds Dr. Khattak, Ms. Schurr and Dr. Bishu for effectively producing results that will help drivers operate their vehicles more safely and thanks to the Nebraska Department of Roads their support.
The revised Nebraska Driver’s Manual is available online at: http://www.dmv.ne.gov/examining/pdf/engdrivermanual.pdf, with the new information on roundabouts featured on pages 44-45.


How to Navigate a Roundabout

Single-lane Roundabouts

The most common type of roundabout in Lincoln is a single-lane roundabout. As you approach a roundabout there will be a YIELD sign and there may be a dashed yield line. Slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if necessary. If another car is waiting ahead of you, do not stop in the crosswalk. When you enter, yield to circulating traffic on the left, but do not stop if it is clear.
A conventional roundabout will have ONE-WAY signs or directional arrows mounted in the center island. They help guide traffic and indicate that you must drive to the right of the center island. Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit. Left turns and U-turns are completed by traveling around the center island.
Multi-lane Roundabouts

You choose your lane in a multi-lane roundabout the same way you would in a traditional multi-lane intersection. Lane directions will be indicated on a sign approaching the intersection and also painted on the road. Drivers can make U-turns by selecting the left lane and driving around the circle.
Similar to a single-lane roundabout, as you approach a multi-lane roundabout there will be a YIELD sign and a dashed yield line. Before entering the roundabout, choose your lane, slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if necessary. If another car is waiting ahead of you, do not stop in the crosswalk.
While in the roundabout, stay in your lane; do not stop or pass in the roundabout. Do not drive next to a large truck using the roundabout, as they might need to take up multiple lanes. When exiting the roundabout, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.