Why Signalling in Roundabouts is so Important

Much like intersections controlled by stop signs or traffic lights, roundabouts are an effective way to safely manage intersecting vehicles and pedestrians going their various ways.

We can all agree using turn signals at stop signs and traffic lights is a simple and straightforward way to let others know where we’re going. Turning left? Flick on the left turn signal. Turning right? Activate the right. Going straight? Chill, and wait for your chance to continue on your way.

Safe driving = Great communication.

But for some reason, many drivers in British Columbia seem to think turn signals don’t have a place in roundabouts.

In fact, we recently set up a video camera at a roundabout to capture proof of this bleak, “blinkerless” trend. But if more of us keep sending out the proper signals, the trend is sure to shift.

Let it be known that the Oh Mighty Blinker is actually quite important for alerting other drivers of your intentions while travelling roundabouts.

Signalling in roundabouts can be summarized like this:

When entering roundabout: activate signal corresponding with the exit you plan on taking.

  • First exit (typically a right turn) = right turn signal
  • Second exit (typically going straight through roundabout) = No signal
  • Third exit (typically a left turn) = left turn signal

When exiting roundabout: activate right turn signal

Look at it like this: A roundabout is essentially a four-way intersection with a rotary traffic island in the middle. Signalling where you intend to go, and when you exit, is best practice. These rules are consistent with other countries, such as the United Kingdom, where roundabouts have been used for decades to improve safety and traffic flow.

Why is signalling in roundabouts so important?

Turn signals allow drivers entering the roundabout to better determine a safe opportunity to proceed. They also warn drivers already in the roundabout – those following behind, for example – when they can expect the vehicle ahead of them to slow down and turn off.

Let’s all agree to flick the switch for roundabouts.

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62 Responses to Why Signalling in Roundabouts is so Important

  1. ken mack on August 8, 2018 at 11:48 am

    No need to signal upon entering. Totally unnecessary.
    I don’t believe rear end collisions are common in roundabouts, so no need to let people behind you know where your going, they simply follow.
    No need to brake before exiting, simply signal a right turn to give the driver waiting to enter a split second advance notice of your intention to leave at that exit.
    Basically if you yield to the left upon entering, everything works just fine, signalling is an unnecessary splitting of hairs further complicating and confusing a simple process

    • tranbceditor on August 9, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for your sharing your thoughts about signalling in roundabouts.

      A roundabout is essentially a four-way intersection with a rotary traffic island in the middle. Signalling where you intend to go while entering — left (left signal), straight (no signal), or right (right signal) — and when you exit, is best practice. These rules are consistent with other countries. Take the United Kingdom, for example: https://www.gov.uk/…/the…/using-the-road-159-to-203

  2. Rick McCallum on July 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    My question involves the small, traffic calming circles that one finds in neighborhoods. Do these follow the same right-of-way rules as do larger roundabouts? In particular what should happen when two vehicles are approaching such a small circle from opposite directions and one vehicle, arriving at the circle a couple of seconds before the other, wishes to make a left turn in front of the second? Does that vehicle have the right of way because they are ‘in’ the circle first? That sounds dangerous.

    • tranbceditor on July 19, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Hello Rick and thanks for your question. A traffic circle is a type of intersection. Here’s what ICBC has to say about traffic circles:

      Traffic circles are mostly found in residential neighbourhoods. When you’re using a traffic circle:

      • Slow down as you approach the circle.
      • Obey any posted traffic control signs, such as “Yield” or
      “Stop” signs. If there are no traffic control signs, treat it as an
      uncontrolled intersection.
      • Yield to any traffic in the traffic circle. If another vehicle arrives
      at the traffic circle at the same time as you do, yield to the
      vehicle on your right.
      • Go around the traffic circle to the right (that is, in a counterclockwise
      direction).

      Here’s a link for more inforamtion: https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/documents/drivers4.pdf

  3. Jonathan Underwood on July 5, 2018 at 9:35 am

    You say “when entering roundabout: activate signal corresponding with the exit you plan on taking.
    First exit (typically a right turn) = right turn signal
    Second exit (typically going straight through roundabout) = No signal
    Third exit (typically a left turn) = left turn signal ”

    Surely on the third exit, you signal right to leave the circle.not left to stay in the circle. Once in the circle you are considered in the flow of traffic and to exit you signal right; as you are turning right. If you moissed your exit and continued around, you would signal right prior to any subsequent exit you took. Signal left? NO WAY!

    • tranbceditor on July 6, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Hi Jonathan. Yes, you are correct. You always signal right when exiting a roundabout. So, when planning to take the third exit: signal left while entering the roundabout and switch signal to right before exiting.

  4. Ray on July 1, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Hi
    What about signaling in neighbourhood traffic circles as opposed to roundabouts? Are signals used there?

    • tranbceditor on July 4, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks for your question about traffic circles. Signalling is important there (as well as in roundabouts), because it helps people wanting to enter the circle know if there is a good opportunity to enter (i.e. a driver in the circle indicates with their signal that they plan to leave the roundabout before the next entrance) or not. Signalling also warns drivers already in the circle that the signalling vehicle ahead will be slowing down because they plan to turn off.

  5. pedro on June 24, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    great post

    • tranbceditor on June 25, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Thanks Pedro – we are glad to hear you like it.

  6. Kevin Stone on June 4, 2018 at 7:07 am

    Love this topic and all the discussions it creates. There is virtually no driving event that I take part in that I do not signal. I was taught well when I was younger and believe that “driving” is a job, or a task that anyone must take seriously and avoid distractions like the plague, including, but not limited to e-devices, kids, chatting, etc.. Traffic circles, I like them, been in some of the biggest (Damascus) and smallest – they work well if everyone knows how to drive initially. Signalling – every step of the way through a traffic circle regardless of exit. I signal to everyone thereby giving them the fullest opportunity to avoid hitting me, I check my lights often to ensure they are in working order (albeit the sun sometimes makes it difficult to be seen, but I recognize that as well), so some people just can’t/don’t see them and/or others think they just own the road… I’m currently from Alberta so thanks for that comment :-/; I’ve been all over and can write a lot of provincial names down, which means nothing. I wish we could enforce training/compliance more as most people take driving as easy and have appear to have limited skill or appreciation for other road users. There are a lot of great people out there as well, I thank them when I drive :- ). The legislation should reflect that signals are to be on throughout the traffic circle in my opinion. TY

    • tranbceditor on June 4, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Thanks for this comment Kevin – we appreciate it!

  7. Darryl on June 1, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Hi
    Reading the conversations for this round about I have come to the conclusion that people just don’t want to follow the rules.I travel through a roundabout at least four times a day and find that less that 50% of the vehicles signal when they go through which frustrates me. I think education is the answer, first when the new drivers are getting their licence and maybe there should be signage at the roundabout to show people what they need to do. As we are getting more and more roundabouts we could have law enforcement set up at a round about and give out warnings to those who do not at least signal right when leaving the roundabout. Maybe the TV news could do a piece on educating people. EDUCATE THE PEOPLE.

  8. Steve on May 28, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Can you comment on the rules when encountering a large commercial transport vehicle which may straddle both lanes heading the same direction in a roundabout? Common sense would tell me to hang back and not overtake this large vehicle. What are the rules for this particular scenario and if the smaller vehicle overtook the commercial vehicle straddling both lanes and a collision ensued, what sections of the M.V. Act apply? I encountered this situation myself yesterday and my instinct was to hang back. Glad I did because I would have gotten squished had I decided to pass on right. I did not see a signal indicated on the semi.

    • tranbceditor on May 28, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Steve,

      Your instinct was right – giving large commercial vehicles the room they need to make turns is always advisable. In fact, we build our roundabouts with aprons which allow these big rigs room to ride up on, if they need the extra room to move through the circle. Commercial vehicles are governed by regulation in the Commercial Transportation Act. Often, these large vehicles will have a graphic on the back indicating that they need space to make wide turns. Thanks for your question – we hope this answer helped!

  9. Sry on May 26, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I read your instructions to a friend to trying to teach him how to use a roundabout because he doesn’t signal at circles and needed some official confirmation of my instructions….your instructions are stupid and unclarifying… they confirm the necessity of signalling in traffic circles only to then give three options, one of which is signalling right, one left, and the 3rd is to NOT SIGNAL AT ALL ( and let’s be clear: the absence of a signal is the behaviour you’re trying to correct here is it not???) The way I learned was to signal right if you’re taking the next exit or signal left if you’re continuing through it. Wouldn’t that be simpler then the absence of the signal option? Then the lack of signal would mean somebody was uninformed and had to be carefully watched by others. In your instructions, a scenario involving the absence of the signal means they’re getting off at the second stop….to people who don’t know how long they’ve been in there who are yielding to them. i’ve never commented before on anything on the Internet but you govt peeps have gotta figure this out.

    • MrVal on June 9, 2018 at 5:11 am

      I agree ‘all mighty’ signal is a confusing term but when I signal to merge into busy traffic they kno that I’m comin over…and when I’m exiting I Rt signal no uncertainty

    • Porkchopy on August 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Yes! Why are your instructions on signalling in a traffic circle different than Alberta’s? Your video says no signal is required if taking the 2nd exit.

      If I pulled-up and wasn’t aware of which entrace you started at, I would not know where you intended to exit. Note Alberta’s rules of signalling –

      ‘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’

      http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/1993.htm

      If there’s any confusion, head to Edmonton and drive their traffic circles for a while – you’ll see why there’s the need to signal in and out of a traffic circle!

      • tranbceditor on August 13, 2018 at 2:21 pm

        Thanks for your comment. Our blog is consistent with Alberta guidelines in that we advise drivers to activate their right signal when approaching their exit. The “no signal required” mentioned in the video refers entering the roundabout with the expectation of continuing “straight,” which is typically the second exit.

  10. Elizabeth McQueen on May 2, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Four of us older ladies will be arriving in Kalowna, BC in early June. We are looking forward our stay at a resort above Kalowna and are so excited to visit your beautiful country. I’m hoping to see roundabouts there. When I went to England in ’07, I forget to let the Queen know and she came over t0 my country for a visit, so I missed her…bummer! I literately talked myself into driving on the left. My husband says it was like a duck to water. I would ask him what was the number of the road we needed, before I entered the roundabout and he told me. Then he closed his eyes. I drove all over the country for three weeks…was so impressed with the Brits courteous approach to driving…hope I find that in Canada. Don’t know if I’ll get to drive any roundabouts while there but sure hope I do. Blessing to all there.

    • tranbceditor on May 3, 2018 at 9:41 am

      We hope you enjoy your time here also Elizabeth. Don’t forget to use our traveller information website http://www.DriveBC.ca for updates and give yourself plenty of time. Safe and happy trails!

  11. Dejan on May 2, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    What are your recommendations on signaling when entering complex roundabouts with 5 or more exits? Based on the text above, I’m speculating that the left turn signal is for all exits that are beyond 2nd (i.e. 3rd, 4th,…, n-th). Is that how it goes?

    • tranbceditor on May 2, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      Correct. Also, in more complex roundabouts, the likelihood of multiple lanes increases. You should always try to choose the correct lane before you enter the circle, so that you do not need to change lanes in the roundabout.

  12. Karen on May 1, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    I’m wondering what the procedure is if you are exiting a business that comes out onto the roundabout?
    I have sat waiting to leave my place of business while the cars just keep coming. Once in a while somebody notices me waiting and lets me in but otherwise I have to wait a considerable amount of time to get out, especially now that the road (West Shore Parkway) is so much busier with the road going through. Do I have to just wait for somebody polite to let me in or do I have the ROW at some point?
    Thanks

    • tranbceditor on May 2, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      Hi Karen – thanks for your comment. The only rule for right of way in a roundabout is that traffic must yield to vehicles already inside the circle. The traffic moving through the circle on Westshore Parkway should slow down before entering the roundabout however; given that there may be a steady stream of vehicles entering the roundabout from these primary points, means you might have to wait for a while before you get a break in traffic to enter the circle. If you think of the roundabout as an intersection and consider your driveway access point as a driveway on a busy street, you can see that the traffic on the busy street will have the right of way and the car in the driveway will have to wait until there is a break in traffic to enter the circle. Make sense? Let us know if you have any other questions!

  13. Keith Gotch on April 17, 2018 at 3:36 am

    As a future visitor to your country in September and researching the rules of the road I came across this, and it made me smile. Obviously, we have had roundabouts in the UK forever and don’t even think about it, we always signal our intentions as it makes the traffic flow much smoother, and if you miss your exit just go round again.If you are puzzled by a simple roundabout google ‘magic roundabout Swindon’ a roundabout with five smaller roundabouts on its circumference that would give you a heart attack

    • tranbceditor on April 17, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Thanks for your comment Keith! We hope you enjoy your visit to Canada. If you have any questions about travel in BC, let us know. Don’t forget to check our travellers information system http://www.DriveBC.ca. Happy trails!

  14. Cambo IV on April 16, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    AH A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! First of all, there’s a ROUNDABOUT IN BC!!!???? NO!!!! We’re far too stupid to have those. We’d rather drive for a minute, then stop for a minute, then drive for a minute, then stop for a minute, then… and SIGNALLING????

    YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!! AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! We have the WORST drivers IN THE WORLD HERE. Half of them learned to drive when they’re 40+ years old. They’re HOPELESS. These days, it’s SO busy, and so confusing, if you haven’t learned to drive by the time you’re 25, you shouldn’t be allowed to. Ever hear anyone play the piano well when they learned when they were an adult? How about being a GREAT hockey player? Badminton? Tiddly winks? You’ve GOT TO take it up when you’re young, or forget it.

    Turn signals…in BC….AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA….Go for a drive sometime.

    • tranbceditor on April 16, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Call us eternal optimists Cambo, but we have hope that everyone in BC can learn to drive safely. 🙂

  15. Justin on April 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Lol

  16. Bill Irwin on March 21, 2018 at 12:17 am

    What about the case (seen often) where a train of cars thinks it has the right to blow through a roundabout while the cars at the other inputs sit there and wait for the train to pass?

    I say the first car in the train on your left, that arrived just before you, has ROW. The second car is not at the circle when the first goes, but you are, so now you are on the right and have ROW. Just move slowly into the circle as the second car is coming through and watch the startled look of surprise – even a horn honk.

    Some drivers are so dense they sit there until all traffic, from all directions except theirs, is gone before they go. Police at circles would have a field day generating lots of revenue and teaching drivers roundabout etiquette.

    • tranbceditor on March 21, 2018 at 10:03 am

      Hi Bill,

      You are correct. You should enter the circle cautiously after the car already in the circle moves past and it is safe to enter. If there is a roundabout that you have a concern about, we encourage you to share your concern with the local authorities as we only have the power to write the regulations and they are the folks who enforce them. Thanks for connecting with us here.

    • phuq yoface on June 8, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      if the second car in the train has no one already in the roundabout to their left they are allowed to follow the car in front of the into the roundabout. You however do have cars approaching on your left and therefore must yield to them and not pull out in front of them because that is breaking the first rule; being that the cars already in the roundabout have the right of way.

  17. Karen on March 18, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Roundabouts function way too rapidly for any benefit from signal use.

    Can’t see signals through island bushes anyway, don’t have time to process information where everyone else wants to go, can’t rely on any signals you *do* see, must wait to observe actual wheel turn…

    Heads turn every which way, watching motions, selecting exits, accel, decel, tranny shifts, extra lanes, (gasp are those shaggy manes in the island?!), sun in eyes, gees is that bicycle i passed already coming up on me… etc.

    Signals in a fast paced roundabout just amount to distracted driving.

    Signals are only required if traffic will be *affected* by your turn, so *gasp* lane change only.

    • tranbceditor on March 21, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Hi Karen and thanks for commenting here. Yes, it’s easy to be distracted while all sorts of things while on the road (gearing and rare blooms included), however; signals are signs of a drivers intention. No, you can’t always trust that the driver will go where they are signalling, but while driving, all signs should be observed and heeded. Roundabouts with more than one lane will have signs in advance of the circle, identifying where each inbound lane will take you. You should always try to select the lane you will need before you enter the circle, so that you won’t have to change lanes while in the circle. Hope that this helps!

  18. Jeff Reddeman on March 4, 2018 at 9:48 am

    There is a roundabout coming off the Golden Ears bridge in Maple Ridge. Traffic heading north,
    does not slow down when entering. Traffic heading west cannot enter roundabout. If you heading west you
    have slowly enter roundabout, while at the same time 5 or 6 cars will blow by you coming from the bridge. These cars where not in the roundabout while your are slowly trying to enter. What the rule, do
    you not need to slow down when entering. This mostly happens at rush hour.

    • tranbceditor on March 6, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      Cars entering the roundabout needs to yield to traffic already inside the circle, regardless of which location they enter from. Roundabouts are like intersections and cars should approach the roundabout with caution and be prepared to slow or stop if required. Unfortunately, we are only responsible for creating legislation and regulations on BC Highways, BC RCMP and local authorities are responsible for enforcing those speeds and rules. If you would like this area to be policed more closely, you might want to share this concern with the local detachment. Hope that this helps!

  19. James on March 3, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Followed links provided by ICBC “Test your knowledge” quiz. I do have a question on one of the questions in the ICBC quiz. Question was in a multi-lane roundabout should you wait till all traffic has cleared to enter the roundabout or just the traffic in the lane you will be entering. My response was to enter when the lane you are entering to is clear. Apparently this is wrong. One should wait till all traffic has cleared. This does not make any sense and goes against all other rules. If you are stopped at a 4 way multi-lane intersection and you are turning right you can turn into the right lane as soon as it is clear. You don’t have to wait till all lanes are clear. Same with a merge lane. You merge preferably using the zipper method when it is safe to enter the lane you are merging into. You don’t have till wait till all lanes are clear. I believe ICBC is incorrect that you have to wait till all lanes in a multi-lane roundabout are clear. You should only have to wait till the first lane is clear.

    • tranbceditor on March 5, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Hi James,

      Thanks for connecting with us here and sharing your concern. We chatted with our traffic engineering department and they confirmed that ICBC is correct. They said that you should look at the pavement marking on the ground for solid or dashed lines. However, just as on a lane highway, people travelling on the highway, as well as those travelling within the roundabout have priority. As such, a person entering a highway/roundabout, if they hit a person legally changing lanes on a highway or in a roundabout would be at fault as they failed to YIELD. Make sense? Let us know if you have any other questions.

  20. Iain Barr on March 2, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    I totally agree that, as soon as you pass the exit before the one you want, you should activate the right turn signal. Since many drivers don’t signal before exiting, it might be helpful to signal left after entering and until it’s time to signal right. I’m not convinced that not signalling tells the drivers behind what your intentions are. If there are more than four entrances/exits, a driver may find themselves behind the non-signaller and not know when they entered, so have no idea where “straight ahead” is. Let’s keep it simple: signal left while you’re not preparing to exit, signal right when you are.

  21. Erik on October 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Its good to see we are finally recommending people to use their left turn signals while inside the roundabout. It is neither illegal or confusing or to use the left turn signal while inside the roundabout. It is a courtesy and makes for a smoother experience.
    I would love to see ICBC promote this in their driving handbook not recommending to signal just when exiting but also while in the roundabout.

    • tranbceditor on October 13, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      We are glad to hear your positive feedback on this Erik – thanks!

  22. Ian McFarlane on October 10, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Four Way stop signs are older then Roundabouts and people still don’t know if a left turner goes before or after the oncoming vehicle. Think of it as green lights, you wait for through traffic then turn left. With Roundabouts do not let the fact that the pavement goes into a curve stump you. If it was a straight road with many side streets you would first wait for a clearing to enter. Like a multi- lane straight road you work your way over (use signals) to your exit (fore thought). You might have to go around again. Remember just because YOU made a mistake doesn’t mean that we all have to pay for it. Signals in a Roundabout, only to change lanes. Forewarning for others to enter-foolhardy. There is always a guy right behind me as I exit, I exit at the same speed as in the Roundabout. Drive as you need to, safely. Uncontrolled (power lines down) intersections-Four-way stop procedure.

    • tranbceditor on October 11, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Ian,
      Thanks for your comments here. We mostly agree with you (especially the safety part!) except on the signalling to change lanes in the roundabout. If you are travelling in a roundabout with more than one lane, you should always choose your lane of travel in advance of entering to prevent you from having to change lanes while in the roundabout. We encourage drivers to signal their intention when entering and when exiting the roundabout as a best practice and to let others know where they plan on going. All traffic outside the roundabout should yield to traffic already in the circle, thereby reducing the risk of collision. Safe travels.

  23. MelanieR on October 9, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I think you might have it wrong. Some round-abouts have four lanes circling and can have 5, 6, 7 exits. As you explain it it would be a nightmare! No signal going “straight”? Which one is straight ahead? Your method would only be practical in those tiny,residential,one-lane, traffic-calming roundabouts. Standard international method: Signal left while circling (BTW:we merge left into the round-about and circle left whilst in it). Signal right to exit. There are no left turns in a round about. It is not “like a four way intersection”. It is it’s own thing. Also when there is more than one lane in the round-about, you are to circle in the inner-most lane until passing the exit before the one you wish to take.

    • tranbceditor on October 12, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Hi Melanie,

      Thanks for your comment. Vehicles intending to travel straight through the circle are not required to signal their intention to move straight through when entering the circle but they are required to signal their intent to exit by signalling right.

      Also, it might not feel like it while you are in the circle, but if you think about it, when you enter at the six o’clock point and travel around the circle to exit at the nine o’clock point, you are actually making a left turn (you are turning your steering wheel to the left).

      Finally, if there is more than one lane in the roundabout, there will be two lanes to exit at each exit point (you shouldn’t have to change lanes to exit). You should exit at your chosen point from the lane you travelled around the circle in. Hope that this helps.

  24. Carol Beauchemin on October 5, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Love this basic rule structure. Only wish it was that simple.
    Yes, roundabouts are very good junctions, especially where people have been taught to use them correctly.
    But even when most people have been taught to use them well, there are often many mistakes.
    Just to assume that by following the rules and indicating correctly, our progress will be assured, it a dangerous route to being surprised when it’s not.
    Indicators are a very good tool for sharing our intentions with others. But the important factor here is who are we signalling to? It is no good religiously putting an indicator on, if by doing so it sends the wrong signal to another road user.
    As part of a dynamic risk assessment, we can negotiate roundabouts in a safe manner, with due care and attention to other road users, but this does not necessary mean just following the novice training manual on textbook roundabout signalling.

    To follow this up see the roundabout section of my video on prediction and surprises –
    https://youtu.be/3aNDdh1fD1Q?t=10m58s

  25. Shannon on October 4, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Signalling left when entering a roundabout is a good way to make the person behind you think you’re stupid enough to maybe turn the wrong way.

    NEVER signal when entering. There’s only one way in. Signal right immediately after you pass the exit prior to your own.

    I cannot believe you’re giving this advice, contrary to ICBC’s advice, and contrary to the actual law. No wonder no one knows the actual rules.

    • tranbceditor on October 5, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Shannon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The Motor Vehicle Act does not cover signalling in roundabouts separately from other intersections.
      Section 170 states:
      (1) If traffic may be affected by turning a vehicle, a person must not turn it without giving the appropriate signal under sections 171 and 172.
      (2) If a signal of intention to turn right or left is required, a driver must give it continuously for sufficient distance before making the turn to warn traffic.
      (3) If there is an opportunity to give a signal, a driver must not stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving the appropriate signal under sections 171 and 172.

      Meanwhile, Section 150 (3) states:
      (3) The driver of a vehicle passing around a rotary traffic island must drive the vehicle to the right of the island.

      A roundabout is essentially a four-way intersection with a rotary traffic island in the middle. As such, drivers should signal accordingly as best practice. Signalling where you intend to go, and when you exit, is best practice. When planning a left turn through a roundabout, for example, a left turn signal indicates to drivers waiting to enter the roundabout that you are continuing past them, and so they should yield. These signal rules are consistent with other countries, such as the United Kingdom.

      We are discussing with ICBC about refining their guide, which only mentions signalling right when exiting (also very important).

      • Mike on November 2, 2017 at 1:57 pm

        You reference section 170 of the MVA which states: The driver of a vehicle passing around a rotary traffic island must drive the vehicle to the right of the island.

        I complained that logging trucks were driving over the traffic islands on the new Westshore Parkway (in fact the drivers often do not try to navigate around the islands). The bylaw officer for Langford emailed me: “the traffic circles are designed to be driven on for these large trucks making turns”.

        Do trucks have different rules permitting driving over traffic circles?

        • tranbceditor on November 3, 2017 at 10:54 am

          Hi Mike,

          The skirt of a roundabout is actually called a truck apron which has the characteristic of being “mountable.” Beyond the truck apron, there is a vertical curb which is non-mountable. Just like the curb that separates a sidewalk from the surface of a road, the raised curb beyond the truck apron is what defines the rotary island that drivers must keep right of. The truck apron is a required design requirement of all ministry roundabouts to allow the trailers of trucks to not travel on the rotary island.

      • Anonymous on March 13, 2018 at 12:57 pm

        By contradicting the official authority, ICBC, in claiming people need to signal entering a roundabout.. YOU are causing confusion and YOU are contributing to the cause of accidents. Had you labled it a discussion instead of acting like you are the authority and telling people to do it, then that would be appropriate.

        • tranbceditor on April 11, 2018 at 3:42 pm

          Hi Anonymous. Thanks for connecting with us here to share your concern and our apologies for the delay in our reply.

          The BC Motor Vehicle Act is essentially the authoritative guide on driving; however, signalling in roundabouts is not specifically covered.
          Relevant sections include:

          Section 170 which states:
          (1) If traffic may be affected by turning a vehicle, a person must not turn it without giving the appropriate signal under sections 171 and 172.
          (2) If a signal of intention to turn right or left is required, a driver must give it continuously for sufficient distance before making the turn to warn traffic.
          (3) If there is an opportunity to give a signal, a driver must not stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving the appropriate signal under sections 171 and 172.

          Meanwhile, Section 150 (3) states:
          (3) The driver of a vehicle passing around a rotary traffic island must drive the vehicle to the right of the island.
          We have discussed appropriate roundabout signalling with ICBC. We agree signalling right before exiting the roundabout is important.

          Our traffic safety engineers’ interpretation of the MVA, as it relates to signalling in roundabouts, views a roundabout similar to a four-way intersection, and maintains there is an added benefit to letting other drivers know the intended exit, even prior to approaching that exit. This view is shared by other countries, such as the UK, and it is our recommendation.

          That said, it would be a victory in itself if drivers at least signalled right before exiting roundabouts. We produced the video/blog because we see many drivers do not signal at all – whether entering or exiting – roundabouts.

  26. Brian Lang on October 4, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Needs some revision as follows:

    First exit (typically a right turn) = right turn signal
    Second exit (typically going straight through roundabout) = left turn signal until past first exit, then right turn signal
    Third exit (typically a left turn) = left turn signal until past second exit, then right turn signal
    Fourth exit (legal u-turn) = left turn signal until past third exit, then right turn signal

    This is the international standard. Why should BC be different and not require signals for straight through (second exit) movements?

    • tranbceditor on October 4, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      Hi Brian and thanks for connecting with us and sharing your feedback. If you imagine the traffic circle without the concrete middle, you are left with an uncontrolled intersection. In an uncontrolled intersection, you need to signal the direction in which you wish to travel. In the case of someone wanting to go straight ahead – no signal is required. Or how about this – consider that the roundabout has two lanes and the driver intending to travel straight through the intersection signalled left upon entering the roundabout. Other drivers waiting to enter the circle might view this as an opportunity to enter the circle, creating a risk of collision (despite the basic roundabout rule – yield to traffic in the circle). Make sense?

      We should also point out these rules are consistent with other countries. Take the United Kingdom, for example: https://www.gov.uk/…/the…/using-the-road-159-to-203

      • Melanie on October 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

        Generally a good article, and a topic that BC drivers certainly need more education on.

        That said, Brian has it right, and his suggestion completely agrees with Rule 186 of the UK regulations (Signals And Position).

        It’s a little confusing reading the UK rules, because they drive on the other side of the road, but in BC it translates to:
        – if taking the first exit, then signal right when entering the roundabout and stay in the outer lane of the roundabout, heading straight to your exit (assuming a two-lane roundabout)
        – if taking the any other exit (second or later), then signal left to enter and move to the innermost lane in the roundabout (keeping your left signal on). As you pass the last exit you *don’t* want, signal right and move to the outside lane and then take your exit.

        For all drivers waiting to enter, they know exactly whether the drivers already in the roundabout intend to stay in the inside line and continue on the circle, or cross directly in front (of the waiting car) to take their exit.

        • tranbceditor on October 6, 2017 at 11:14 am

          Hi Melanie. Thanks for looking over the UK rules, which are similar (but, of course, follow the opposite direction). Here is the section of Rule 186 that indicates drivers do not have to signal while entering a roundabout if they intend to take the second exit (i.e. go straight through the roundabout):

          “When taking any intermediate exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
          – select the appropriate lane on approach to the roundabout
          you should not normally need to signal on approach
          – stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout
          – signal left (right in Canada) after you have passed the exit before the one you want.”

          That page also has a good graphic that displays all three options.

        • Cheryl on October 22, 2017 at 11:26 pm

          I’m from England and spent 17 years driving there. You do not signal if you are tou going straight on in a roundabout!

  27. Shauna Clinging on October 3, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Mistake #1: The Left-Turn Signal. There is no such thing as a left turn in a roundabout. You do not need to signal upon entering a roundabout as there is only one direction in which you can enter. A left-turn signal is utterly confusing, redundant, and plain silly. It is also annoying. It provides no useful information for the driver behind you. Even driving instructors often get that wrong: it appears that they haven’t read the ICBC Rules of the Road for BC. If you are a driving instructor and you are teaching your students to signal left when entering a roundabout in the left lane, you are teaching your students bad practice that is not consistent with ICBC rules. Technically, it is not a violation, but it is bad practice. I often see drivers (including driving schools) signalling left going through the roundabout, in their mind “making a left turn” by taking the 3rd exit. But how are other drivers supposed to know where you entered the roundabout? The danger is that the left turn signal is still in use when the motorists is exiting the roundabout, instead of using the right signal to exit, as is required. Most vehicles automatically turn off the signal when you turn in the opposite direction, but the gentle right turn entering into a roundabout may not be sufficient for disengaging the left-turn signal. Repeat: do not signal entering a roundabout. It is not against the law, but it is silly and dangerous.

  28. Shauna Clinging on October 3, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    ICBC road safety does not recommend signalling to enter the round about.
    http://www.icbc.com/road-safety/driving-tips/Pages/How-to-use-roundabout.aspx

    I believe there is no reason to signal entering the round about. As far as I know there is no legal requirement to signal entering the round about. From what I can gather from my worldly and travelled friends it is common practice not to signal entering the round about. The article below mentions left signalling entering the round about is a common mistake.

    https://wernerantweiler.ca/blog.php?item=2016-01-01

    • tranbceditor on October 4, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Hi Shauna,

      Thanks for your comments and for sharing the link to the ICBC information. You are correct, the link does not recommend using signals when entering the roundabout, only when exiting. We are encouraging signalling as best practice when entering and exiting to keep drivers informed of your plans and reducing any possibility of conflict. The left turn signal isn’t just for the driver behind you, it is also for the other drivers waiting to enter the circle. It gives everyone the information they need to decide if they can safely enter (or exit) the circle. If you imagine the traffic circle without the concrete middle, you are left with an uncontrolled intersection. In an uncontrolled intersection, you need to signal the direction in which you wish to travel. In the case of someone looking to “turn left” at the roundabout, they should indicate that they intend to turn left until they pass the traffic at the twelve o’clock (or straight ahead) position and then signal right to exit. Phew! Hope that this helps.

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