EDITORIAL – Why can’t people use traffic roundabouts properly?

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I TOOK THE ICBC DRIVER refresher test. Flunked it. “Looks like your driving knowledge is a little rusty,” the computer told me.

But there’s one thing I do know that most other drivers in Kamloops don’t — how to exit a roundabout. That wasn’t on the refresher test.

Yesterday I defended the zipper merge; now I’m here to tell you about roundabouts.

It’s been a half-dozen years since they started springing up everywhere and they’re an efficient way to move traffic through a lot of intersections. When they first came in, none of us as drivers had a clue what to do with them.

Now, we move in and out of them with ease, but almost everyone still does it improperly. My recent observations indicate that maybe one in 50 does it right.

So pay attention, Prof. Mel is going to guide you through it. When we enter a single-lane roundabout, we don’t need to signal because there’s only one way to turn. A left-turn signal only confuses things.

But when we leave it, we’re supposed to signal for a right turn.

Let me repeat — yield when entering, signal right when leaving. It’s not against the law to signal when entering, but it is against the law not to signal when exiting.

I’m so focused on this that I’ve become obsessed with watching what other drivers do whenever I encounter a traffic circle.

Somebody told me the other day that our roundabouts are so small you barely have a chance to get one blink or two in before you head out of them. That’s very true, but what about roundabouts in other places that have several lanes and everyone really has to be on their toes.

Using signal lights properly is a lot more important in those ones, but why not do it right in all of them?

The cops would have a field day if they started showing up at roundabouts and writing tickets.

So now you know how not to get a ticket. Aren’t I a smart driver?

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6803 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on EDITORIAL – Why can’t people use traffic roundabouts properly?

  1. Jeez, most can’t drive straight….your just confusing them…

  2. Tracey Pointer // August 9, 2018 at 2:17 PM // Reply

    Also PLEASE tell everyone they DON’T HAVE TO STOP before entering.There’s no stop sign, if there is no one else in the circle, just keep on going, I beseech you.

  3. tony brumell // August 9, 2018 at 12:17 PM // Reply

    me and my dog got 17 out of 20.And I’ve always known how to drive through a traffic circle. Now !!! if I’m in a left turn bay do I have to have my left turn signal on before proceeding ??

  4. Jennifer Adams // August 9, 2018 at 8:16 AM // Reply

    I live near the roundabout at 5th and Nicola. Your assessment that only one in 50 know how to navigate them effectively is probably accurate. I just hope there isn’t a big accident befor we do more to educate folks on “how to drive in a roundabout” I have often thought a story or article educating drivers would help – thanks.

  5. Good points Mel. One other issue that needs refreshing is passingon right hand side of car making left turn. Yesterday for example I was heading down 10th to make left turn onto Victoria. Driver heading up 10th was making left turn onto Victoria oposite my turning. All appeared clear and I was proceeding to make my turn when vehicle behind the other driver pulled out behind him on right side to go through intersection and then layed on horn as he perceived he had right of way. Close call!

  6. shery5young5 // August 9, 2018 at 7:04 AM // Reply

    Thank you for your article. The absolute worst round about is the one outside my apartment building.
    I enter the roundabout (7:50 am- mon-fri) from Nicola onto 5th avenue, cautiously, and I look to see if a driver is going to hit me that is going south or north. I think its my prayer that helps me. “Lord help protect me while in the roundabout.” “Thank you Lord, I made it.”

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