How to Navigate Roundabouts When RVing

Tips and tricks for navigating roundabouts in RVing

Highway roundabouts
••• Roundabouts can present a tricky challenge for even the most experienced RVers. David Wall Photos/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Let’s face facts, most of America’s highways and bi-ways were built for cars and other small automobiles and not RVs. There are several road features such as small intersections, narrow lanes, compact merging areas and plenty of other features that will leave RV owners white-knuckled on the wheel. One such feature that can give RVs big headaches is the roundabout.

What Are Roundabouts?

Roundabouts, also known as traffic circles are more prevalent in our neighbors across the pond, but they still exist here in the US.

RVers need to take care on roundabouts so we have some advice on keeping you safe when negotiating them. Here is some of our advice on dealing with roundabouts. 

Slow and Steady 

RVs are much larger than typical vehicles so there are many situations where you’ll need to be more patient, just like roundabouts. One of the worst things you can do is hit a roundabout going over the speed limit or even at the speed limit for many RVers. 

Your best course of action is taken the roundabout slow and steady. Flying into a roundabout can cause you to lose control of your RV and in some situations, you could even flip over. If cars are pulling up beside you, don’t let it bother you as you’d much rather have a couple of drivers frustrated at you than end up on your side. The good news is that many roadways, especially in the US, give you ample warning that you’re approaching a roundabout. Take these to heart and start slowing down well before you get to the roundabout.

 

Yield and Yield Some More

The yield sign you find on many roundabouts is not a suggestion, it is law. The yield sign holds even more implication for big RVs. While you aren’t required to stop at a yield sign it may not be the worst idea for an RVer. Cars and other vehicles can come out of nowhere on roundabouts which can spell bad news if you decide to roll right over a yield sign and into a roundabout.

That’s why we recommend that RVers treat yield signs at roundabouts more like stop signs. You want to make sure you have a full grasp of what is coming around the bend before you creep out into a roundabout. 

Careful When Shifting Lanes 

Shifting lanes in your RV is more difficult than a car and it can be even more difficult in a roundabout. Check and recheck your mirrors and make sure you have plenty of open space before attempting to shift lanes in your RV. This can be tricky with the curved layout of roundabouts so take even more care than normal.

Pro Tip: If you’ve never practice shifting lanes before tackling a roundabout, it’ll make a difference. Get comfortable with shifting lanes on a stretch of highway that merges with another or turns sharply before tackling roundabouts.

Check Your Sway 

Roundabouts are an issue for all RVs, but they can be even more hectic for those towing trailers. Trailers can of course sway from side to side and this movement is always more noticeable when taking turns and that’s the kicker, a roundabout is nothing but a turn. So, you need to keep with the first rule, slow and steady to make sure that your trailer doesn’t go careening into the next lane over.

 

Avoid Roundabouts Altogether 

Like we said earlier, you are often forewarned about roundabouts before you even get to them. Nothing says that you must take roundabouts, even if they are the most convenient route. If you have the choice it wouldn’t be the worst idea to avoid roundabouts altogether, especially in situations where you know the roundabout will be clogged with traffic. 

Pro Tip: When planning an RV route, look in-depth at the highways and streets you’ll be taking. If you notice roundabouts or other traffic hurdles, consider an alternative route to your destination to avoid them if necessary.

Roundabouts are fine for RVers if you take your time and always make sure you’re in the clear. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be off the curve and back onto the straight-away in no time.