Sunday, April 14, 2013

Driving in Germany: around and around the roundabout we go!

The roundabout: helping traffic flow. Too bad it's tiny in this picture!
In Germany, it's not uncommon to come across traffic circles, or roundabouts, in one's car journeys. They work reasonably well to help keep up the flow of traffic.

There are a few important things to know about them:

-often there will be a yield sign for the traffic about to enter the roundabout, BUT if there is no yield sign, that means that the traffic already inside the roundabout must yield to the incoming traffic. Duh, but this is something important to remember.

-do not use your turn signal when entering the roundabout. It's quite obvious that you are going to enter the roundabout. However, DO use your turn signal when you are EXITING the roundabout.

-some (hellacious) roundabouts even have a center where streetcars will cross. Look for yield signs inside the circle; you might have to yield to oncoming streetcars that cut across the roundabout. This is part of the reason that I don't enjoy driving in the bigger cities. It can feel like (organized) chaos sometimes.

-of course, always do your own research to keep up on German driving laws and don't just rely on what Around the Wherever has written.


I have really come to like the roundabouts. I love that there is no full stop required when approaching it (well, unless there is other traffic in it already and I have the yield sign). Of course, I'm spoiled in that most of the roundabouts I'm using are in less populated areas so I'm usually the only one entering. The roundabout near Globus on the east side of Kaisersautern/by Opel is sometimes nicht so gut because it can be filled with traffic. However, for the most part, the roundabouts really keep traffic flowing.

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