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Zach’s Thoughts On Using Turn Signals In The Utica Roundabout

Zach Effrog, Big Frog 104, Townsquare Media

Love it or hate it, the Utica roundabout is here to stay, with the finishing touches being added to it daily. I travel Genesee Street on a daily basis and encounter the roundabout every day, as well. Personally, I like the roundabout. It’s a change. Although, at times, it can slow down traffic a bit, it’s aesthetically pleasing and, I personally feel, it makes things look more open. Now, with that being said, there is something negative I have been noticing, not so much with the roundabout itself, but with the drivers using it. Nobody uses their turn signal. I’m not talking about getting on the roundabout, as it’s only one-way; I’m talking about exiting the roundabout.

According to the New York State DMV Internet Office Driver’s Manual:

“While inside the roundabout, stay in your lane until you are ready to exit. Use your vehicle’s right turn signal to let the other users know what you want to do, whether you want to move from the “inside path” to the “outside path” before exiting, or already are in position to exit. Start signaling at the exit BEFORE the one you want to take. Do not change lanes or take an exit before checking for vehicles that may be continuing through the roundabout in the lane next to you or behind you. Expect vehicles to be in the “blind spots” you cannot see in your rearview mirrors.”

And, in a story written by Jeanette Lenoir for our sister radio station WIBX 950, it states Utica Police released a list of safety tips for the roundabout. One of the tips is about turn signals. It says:

“Use your right turn signal to let other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians know that you are exiting the roundabout at the next exit.”

The whole WIBX 950 story can be read here.

So, I decided to stand at the roundabout and see how many motorists used their turn signal when exiting. Although it was a short study, and not very scientific, I stood at the roundabout for ten minutes and counted the cars which used turn signals. In ten minutes, I only noticed three cars using turn signals to exit the roundabout. Again, it’s not scientific, but I saw about 25 to 35 vehicles, one of which being a Centro bus, not using a turn signal to exit.

Now, this may go without saying, but, I always use my turn signal to exit. I see it as courtesy. I want to be courteous to the people waiting to enter the roundabout. By using my turn signal, the other driver can see I’m exiting the roundabout, which now gives them the opportunity to enter. It speeds things along and leaves no doubt in the other driver’s mind that I’m exiting. I’ll add, that while standing and watching the cars, not using a turn signal did make things harder for drivers. Cars darted out in front of cars they thought were turning, but the driver of the other car was not actually exiting–it almost caused a couple T Bone accidents.

With anything that is new, it takes time to adjust. I think once people get the hang of it, driving in a roundabout will be like second nature. If you would like information on driving in a roundabout, click here to be directed to the DMV website (it says it’s a resource for older drivers, but I thought it was beneficial for any age). Also, here is the full article from the New York State DMV Internet Office Driver’s Manual, which I quoted above.

So, I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on turn signals and the new Utica roundabout?

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