Roundabouts vary in sizes and complexities. There are minor roundabouts with less than four adjoining roads and there are major roundabouts with more than three adjoining roads.
There are also double mini roundabouts and multiple roundabouts. Whether major or minor, a high rate of incidents do occur at roundabouts.
There is, therefore, the need for drivers to clearly understand the potential hazards and the safety rules about roundabouts and adhere strictly to avoid crashes and fatalities.
When approaching a roundabout, drivers must adhere strictly to the MSM/PSL routine. Drivers must not overtake or pass other vehicles when approaching a roundabout no matter how slow the vehicle ahead is.
Obey the traffic light or traffic controller available at the roundabout. Whether there is a stop and yield sign towards the roundabout or not, drivers must stop, watch and be prepared to give way when necessary and safe.
Drivers must obey the following distance and lane discipline rules while approaching roundabouts. Emergency vehicles must always adhere to the defensive driving rules and avoid offensive driving at roundabouts.
Depending on the size of your vehicle, you must plan well ahead as you approach the roundabout. Decide early enough the exit you need to take.
Signal your intention clearly and early enough. Avoid driving too close to the left hand kerb of the roundabout. Check other vehicle in the roundabout, accurately assess the speed and intention of the vehicle on the left, give way to the vehicle on the left and proceed at a slow speed. Always monitor the vehicle in front of you as you’re entering the roundabout to avoid rear-end collision.
When turning right at a roundabout, check your mirrors, signal to the right early, approach the roundabout on the right lane. Note that drivers of articulated vehicles will need to take some of the lane on the left.
This depends on the narrowness and sharpness of the exit turn. Continue the right hand signal till you completely turn off the roundabout.
When turning left, look well ahead and signal to the left early. Check and give way to the traffic on the left. Never pull out across the path of any vehicle closely approaching the roundabout from the left.
Only enter the roundabout when you know it is safe to emerge. Do not drive too close to the left kerb. Make frequent mirror checks.
Change your signal to the right immediately you pass the exit preceding the one you intend to take. The above rules also apply when you are turning full circle.
When going straight ahead, check your mirrors. Approach the roundabout in the right hand lane. Do not give signal as you approach the roundabout.
Depending on the sizes of the vehicle and lane, stay in the lane. Signal to the right immediately you pass the exit preceding the one you intend to take. Do not drive too close to the kerb.
Watch out for other road users at the roundabouts, particularly motorcycle riders and pedestrians. This is one of the reasons why you have to regularly check your your mirrors and blind spot as you negotiate the roundabout.
Do not make a U – turn near roundabouts.
Do not move in high speed towards a roundabout. If you miss your exit, do around again and do not reverse. Do not compete for space with other vehicles at roundabouts.
It is unfortunate that over 80 percent of the Drivers in Nigeria neither understand nor obey the above – mentioned rules. Hence the high rate of incidents at roundabouts.
The common practice of Drivers and Riders at roundabouts is, “the fastest have the right of way”. This is wrong and hazardous.
My research on the roundabouts in Ibadan and Kano affirmed that Drivers need to be deeply taught the rules and unbiased enforcement at roundabouts should be given priority attention in all the States and FCT.
Functional traffic light, traffic signs, road markings and competent Traffic Control Officer should be considered for every roundabout to eliminate or drastically reduce the rate of accidents at roundabouts in Nigeria.