Proper procedures using roundabouts

When and how do we use signals in the roundabout? Many people seem confused about this. When I approach the intersection going north on Highland, there is no other way to go, so I don't signal. I do signal when I exit the roundabout to inform the cars entering. We use it a lot, and there doesn't seem to be a consistent consensus about this.

— R. Draper, Medford

Sounds like you have the proper method, and what you're doing is backed up by what's listed in the Oregon Driver's Manual. It doesn't mention signaling when entering (not that it would hurt), but it does refer to exiting the roundabout. Here are the pointers it mentions:

Approach: Slow down to the posted speed as you approach the roundabout. Look for exit destination signs to help you determine where your exit is located on the roundabout. Watch for bicyclists. Near the entrance of the roundabout, bicycles either will exit from the bike lane onto the sidewalk or merge into traffic. Next, you will approach the crosswalk. Stop for any pedestrians who are using or beginning to use the crosswalk in your lane.

Enter: Upon reaching the roundabout, you must yield to traffic inside the roundabout as well as those vehicles exiting. Wait for a gap and merge into traffic. Be prepared to stop if necessary.

Proceed: Once inside the roundabout, move around the circle counterclockwise until you reach your exit. Allow bicycles that have merged into traffic the full travel lane. Do not pass a bicyclist within the roundabout. They should be moving at nearly the same speed as other vehicles.

Exit: Always indicate your intent to exit using your right turn signal. Exit carefully. Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk and be prepared to stop.

Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a weekly Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or email

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