Roundabout safety: Yielding to large vehicles is the law
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
We may not see them much in the Northwoods, but when encountering a roundabout, the April Law of the Month from the Department of Transportation will help keep things moving smoothly.
To improve traffic safety, drivers must yield the right of way at roundabouts to trucks and other large vehicles that are at least 40 feet long or 10 feet wide, according to a state law enacted in 2016.
Because commercial trucks and other large vehicles, including many buses, fire trucks, farm implements, and recreational vehicles that are towing boats or cars, have an expanded turning radius, they need ample room to travel through roundabouts.
To help traffic flow smoothly and safely through roundabouts, state law has the following provisions:
- Drivers must yield the right of way by providing adequate space to large vehicles that are at least 40-feet long or 10-feet wide when approaching or driving through a roundabout at approximately the same time or when close to a large vehicle.
- If necessary, large vehicles are allowed to deviate from their lane or occupy two lanes within a roundabout.
- If two large vehicles approach a roundabout at the same time, the vehicle on the right must yield to the vehicle on the left.
“It’s important to remember that when approaching a roundabout, all drivers regardless of the size of their vehicle must yield to traffic already within the roundabout,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Adrian Logan of the North Central Region.
A citation for failure to properly yield the right of way in roundabouts costs $175.30 with four demerit points added to the driver’s record. A second or subsequent offense within a year costs $213.10 with an additional four points.
“Roundabouts are designed to reduce serious crashes and keep traffic moving efficiently,” Logan said. “By being patient, courteous and cautious, drivers can help all vehicles, large and small, safely travel through roundabouts.”
The State Patrol also reminds drivers of the following rules for traffic safety in roundabouts:
- Slow down.
- Obey traffic signs.
- Move into the correct lane for the direction you need to travel as you approach the roundabout.
- Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists as you enter and exit a roundabout.
- Stay in your lane within the roundabout—don’t change lanes.
- Exit the roundabout carefully. Use your right-turn signal in front of the splitter island to indicate your intention to exit.
WisDOT offers information and videos about roundabout safety on its website, wisconsindot.gov.