Traffic circles and roundabouts are circular intersections designed to improve traffic flow and safety. Traffic always circulates in a counterclockwise direction around a centre island. Vehicles entering the intersection must yield to traffic already in the circle.

There are differences between traffic circles and roundabouts. The centre island of a roundabout is smaller than the centre island of a traffic circle. The roundabout has been designed with a tighter curve around the island to encourage lower speeds and may have a sloped curb to allow more room for larger commercial vehicles. Roundabouts can come in several different shapes and sizes. Drivers must watch for and obey traffic signs and or pavement markings. Pedestrian crossings on roundabouts are located away from the intersection for safety, as well as improved lines of sight for motorists and pedestrians.

Drivers must follow similar rules when using roundabouts or traffic circles.

An example of a single lane circular intersection.
An example of a single lane circular intersection.

One lane traffic circle / roundabout

Entering circular intersections

Drivers entering a one lane circular intersection must yield to drivers already in the circle. Once in the circle, drivers must activate the right signal when preparing to exit.

Exiting circular intersections

Always wait to activate your right turn signal after passing the exit that is before your intended exit. This tells other drivers that you intend to leave the circle at the next exit.

When you intend to exit at the first available exit:

  • Use your right signal as you approach. Leave it on until you have exited the circle.
  • As you approach, scan for pedestrians and cyclists at the crosswalks at the entrance and exits of the circle.

When you intend to use at any other exit:

  • As you approach, scan for pedestrians and cyclists at the crosswalks at the entrance and exits of the circle.
  • Activate your right signal when approaching the exit you wish to use.

Two lane traffic circle / roundabout

Entering circular intersection

Drivers entering the circular intersection must yield to drivers already in the circle. Once in the circle, drivers must activate the right signal when preparing to exit.

Using the right lane to enter and exit

Drivers entering the circle from the right lane must do so when it is safe and stay in the right lane while in the circle. They must exit using the right lane.

Vehicles B and C must yield to vehicle A.
Vehicles B and C must yield to vehicle A.

Using the left lane to enter and exit

Drivers using the left lane to enter the circle must do so when it is safe and stay in the left lane while in the circle/roundabout. They must exit using the left lane. Drivers planning to travel past the first exit should use the left lane to enter and exit.

Vehicle E must yield to vehicle D, while vehicles F and D may proceed together.
Vehicle E must yield to vehicle D, while vehicles F and D may proceed together.

In circular intersections

While in the circle, the driver on the right must yield to the driver on the left. Activate the right signal when preparing to exit. Use caution when exiting and crossing through the right (outside) lane. Do not change lanes in the circle. Traffic in the red lanes (white arrows) must yield to traffic in the yellow lanes (black arrows). Traffic entering the circle (grey lanes) must yield to traffic in the circle (both red and yellow lanes).

Vehicle H must yield to vehicle G.
Vehicle H must yield to vehicle G.

Exiting circular intersections

Always wait to activate your right turn signal after passing the exit that is before your intended exit. This tells other drivers that you intend to leave the circle at the next exit.

When you intend to use the first available exit:

  • Approach the circle using the right lane.
  • Use your right signal as you approach. Leave it on until you have exited the circle.
  • As you approach, scan for pedestrians and cyclists at the crosswalks at the entrance and exits of the circle.
  • Yield to traffic in the circle.
  • Exit the circle using the right lane.

When you intend to leave at any other exit:

  • Approach the circle using the left lane.
  • Activate your left signal to communicate that you do not plan to use the first exit.
  • As you approach, scan for pedestrians and cyclists at the crosswalks at the entrance and exits of the circle.
  • Yield to traffic in the circle.
  • Exit the circle using the left lane.

Remember, when you exit using the left lane:

  • Use your right signal when you pass the exit that is one before the exit you will use.
  • Check for traffic in the right lane that may be continuing around the circle.
  • Look ahead for pedestrians at the crosswalk where you will be exiting.
  • Exit the circle using the left lane.
  • If you cannot stop or exit safely, stay in your lane and travel around the circle/roundabout again.
  • Intersections and Turns
  • Traffic Circles and Roundabouts