The roundabout at Hwy 16 and Hwy 37 opened to traffic in late November. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

EDITORIAL: Nervous about the roundabout? I was too

The new roundabout at Hwy 16/Hwy 37 seems to be spinning everybody right round, and round again.

We’ve gotten a lot of requests lately to explain how drivers can navigate the new traffic circle without losing their minds. Ask and you shall receive.

To be honest, I’ve tried avoiding the roundabout at all costs to escape the inevitable heart-pounding anxiety that comes with approaching the lanes — and I consider myself to be a pretty chill driver.

No one wants to be that person who gets caught going in the wrong direction, or accidentally miss a turn and find yourself in the dizzying vehicle version of a merry-go-round.

But when the time came to leave my safety bubble in Terrace for Kitimat, the experience wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I thought.

READ MORE: Roundabout opens in Terrace at Hwy 16 and Hwy 37

As I rolled up to the first yield sign via Lakelse Avenue, it was a fairly busy afternoon. I looked at the exit for Kitimat, and watched as one car moved through the roundabout using the outside lane, following through to Hwy 37. It helps if someone else shows you how to do it first.

After looking both ways and yielding to oncoming drivers, I turned right into the far lane, continued around, and switched on my right turn signal when I was about to leave. Doing that lets drivers waiting to enter the roundabout and pedestrians waiting to cross know what you’re trying to do.

Then almost as quickly as I entered, I turned onto Highway 37 and off I went to Kitimat. Phew! On a scale of difficulty, I’d probably rate the whole experience a 2 out of 5 — but I wasn’t exactly driving at rush hour.

Drivers used to the four way stop will remember filing up at the stop signs and playing a guessing game of sorts as to who has the right of way. At roundabouts, you won’t find any stop signs or traffic lights — but there are two golden rules to follow, according to the Ministry of Transportation.

The first is to yield to traffic in the roundabout before entering. Then, turn right to enter the roundabout and keep moving counter-clockwise. In multi-lane roundabouts like ours, treat it like you would any other intersection. Would you turn left from a right lane at a signal? If you want to turn left, the left lane is where you want to be. It helps to pick out the correct lane before you drive in so you can avoid the panic of trying to merge in a circling vortex of traffic.

Roundabout. It’s a scary word. But with practice and patience, you too can move through the new traffic circle comfortably, and with your sanity intact.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Schools ramp up contact efforts with students

Efforts of school district employees called “extraordinary”

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read