Perhaps one of the most difficult
aspects of Cayman’s roads to grasp – the roundabout – probably beats out the
four-way stop in terms of proving difficult for drivers to master correctly.
Roundabouts have also proved
extremely dangerous to many drivers, prompting many fierce public debates on
how to manoeuvre through and around them safely.
The main rules of the roundabout,
however, are these: drivers must give way and only enter a roundabout once
there is a safe gap; drivers must always give way to drivers on their right;
drivers must use indicators to communicate their intentions with others on the
roundabout; and drivers must navigate through and around roundabouts slowly and
Dual lane roundabouts
These roundabouts often prove to be
the ones that cause the most problems among drivers as few are sure of which
lane to be in, and even fewer regularly use their indicators.
“The use of indicators is critical
in negotiating a roundabout as it tells drivers and other users of the
roundabout what you are doing as well as what you are planning on doing,” said
Marion Pandohie, transportation planner with the National Roads Authority. “A
roundabout is an intersection, please treat it as one.”
When entering a dual lane
roundabout, the driver must be in the right or left lane of the main road according
to which lane on the roundabout they wish to follow – the inner lane or the
“Lane choice at a two-lane
roundabout is similar to a standard intersection,” said Mrs. Pandohie. “When
approaching, choose either the inner or the outer lane that corresponds to your
desired movement… The inner lane allows right turns, straight ahead movements
and U-Turns only. The outer lane manoeuvres include immediate turns or straight
If the driver wishes to take the
first exit they approach on the roundabout, they should enter the outer lane of
the roundabout. They must also have their left indicator on to indicate that
they will be making a left as they enter the roundabout to take the first exit
they come to.
Should the driver wish to drive to
the second exit, which is generally straight through the roundabout, they may
enter into either the inner or outer lane. Whether the driver chooses to drive
in the outer lane or the inner lane, they must indicate with their right
indicator that they are not going to take the first exit they encounter, and
then, once they have passed the first exit, switch to their left indicator to
indicate that they are planning to take the next exit.
If the driver wishes to travel
further than the exit directly across from their starting point, they must
enter the inner lane of the roundabout. They must maintain their right indicator
as they travel around the roundabout until they approach their desired exit, at
that point they must switch to their left indicator to communicate to other
drivers that they plan to exit the roundabout.
Drivers should never attempt to
overtake while on a roundabout, nor should they attempt to switch lanes while
exiting the roundabout.
“Switching lanes needs to occur off
of the roundabout; never switch lanes on a roundabout,” said Mrs. Pandohie.
Drivers should also be aware that
special consideration must be given when large vehicles and emergency response
vehicles enter a roundabout. Drivers who have not yet entered the roundabout
should stop and pull over to allow the emergency vehicle to pass, but those
inside the roundabout should not stop. Instead, drivers already on the
roundabout should continue to their desired exit and then pull off the road.
Wide-axel trucks may have to
straddle both lanes when navigating a roundabout and drivers should be sure to
avoid driving alongside large trucks while on the roundabout.
In addition to the roundabouts
along the East-West Arterial Road, the Linford Pierson Highway and the Esterly
Tibbetts Highway, a new roundabout is being planned for the West Bay Road where
it is currently met by Raleigh Quay opposite Tiki Beach.
These small roundabouts are found
in several locations throughout George Town, and the same basic rules apply to
drivers attempting to go across or around these mini-roundabouts.
Drivers exiting immediately must
indicate their intent to do so with their left indicator, while others
continuing straight through or around the roundabout should first indicate with
their right indicator until they reach their desired exit and then switch to
their left indicator.
Only oversized vehicles may drive
over part or the entire painted circle of a mini-roundabout, all other vehicles
must circle around the painted centre of the mini-roundabout.
Roundabouts in the rain
Drivers should exercise extra
caution when navigating roundabouts in the rain and are warned never to speed,
especially when roads are wet.
The NRA has taken steps to improve
the safety of the newest roundabouts along the East-West Arterial Road by
cutting grooves, known as longitudinal tining, into the asphalt and by widening
the exits. Drivers are still cautioned to follow the rules of roundabout usage
to stay safe when navigating a roundabout in rain or shine.
“Remember, whether it is raining or
not always give way to the vehicle on your right and always use your
indicators,” said Mrs. Pandohie.