Roundabouts, those circular traffic wonders that leave some drivers baffled and others spinning in circles, have become a common sight on roads in Illinois.

If you've ever found yourself scratching your head at these peculiar intersections, fear not. Here are facts about roundabouts that might make them seem more likable.

Roundabouts can mean the difference between a tow truck and an ambulance.

Florida has the most roundabouts in the country and, according to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), roundabouts reduce fatal crashes by over 90%:

Roundabouts substantially reduce accidents like right-angle, left-turn, and head-on collisions, which can lead to more dangerous and fatal crashes.

The Institute for Highway Safety studied 24 intersections that were originally controlled by signals or stop signs but converted to roundabouts. The results proved there was a reduction in crashes that resulted in injuries by 72 to 80 percent.

READ MORE: Is it Illegal to Drive Under The Speed Limit on Illinois Roads?

Roundabouts save taxpayers' money.

These intersections don't require the installation or maintenance of traffic signals, there's never a need to direct traffic.

What does a modern roundabout look like?

It has no light signals or stop signs and all traffic moves in one direction.


How does a roundabout intersection work?

There are 3 things drivers need to always remember:

  1. As you approach there are almost always Yield signs and crosswalks for pedestrians.
  2. The island in the center is always raised, giving drivers a clue that you don’t drive through the center and stay on the road going around the center. It's also a reminder to slow down.
  3. Do not pass another vehicle.
  4. Do not change lanes.
  5. Pavement markings are the best guide you to your exit.

Who has the right of way at roundabouts in Illinois?

This is different than "normal" intersections. Drivers who are already in the circle have the right of way. They don't need to maneuver to make room for entering vehicles like a basic intersection.

 If any emergency vehicle is approaching, continue to your exit and then pull over. Never stop inside a roundabout.

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)

What is the typical speed limit for traveling through a roundabout?

When approaching a roundabout you must always slown so that you can yield to traffic already in the circle and to pedestrians crossing as you enter and as you exit.

The speed limits can range from 15 to 25 mph, but most are around 15. A way to remember is not forgetting the shorter the diameter, the lower the speed limit.

Other things to remember when entering a roundabout:

  • First, you yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Then, you check for traffic approaching from the left.
  • Once you spot a gap in traffic, you slowly get into the road.
  • Watch for large vehicles—and give them space: Do not drive beside a bus or a large truck.

Want to avoid Illinois' roundabouts? Check out this map.

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