Driving instructor Ken Todd with Albion Driver Training explains some of the finer points of negotiating the McTavish Road roundabouts in North Saanich. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Signal early, have patience when negotiating roundabouts

Driving instructor Ken Todd on roundabout etiquette at McTavish Road interchange

There’s a lot of information for drivers to take in when trying to negotiate a series of roundabouts like those at the McTavish Road interchange in North Saanich — and drivers need to be prepared and patient.

That’s the advice of Ken Todd, a driving instructor for Albion Driver Training in the Greater Victoria area.

That, and drivers should signal their intentions early — and keep signalling until they’re out of the roundabouts.

On Wednesday, July 26, a passenger in an SUV was taken to hospital after the vehicle they were riding in collided with another SUV in the McTavish roundabouts at the Pat Bay Highway. There have been a variety of crashes, rollovers and close calls in the roundabouts — which have been a lightning rod for driver complaints since they were built.

Even Todd, himself a professional driver for more than 23 years, finds the interchange a challenging design, to put it lightly.

“People can become easily confused in it, even if they’re using it on a regular basis” he said, while showing Black Press the ins and outs of proper roundabout etiquette. “You really do ave to watch what other drivers are doing.”

To prevent that confusion — and even crashes or close calls — Todd recommends that drivers try to know exactly where they’re going when they get behind the wheel. That will give them the lay of the land and even ensure they’re not rushed when they reach the interchange.

And when you do reach the roundabouts, Todd said drivers need to communicate with each other. The simple act of signalling left when going straight through a roundabout — only only signalling right when you’re about to exit — will let other drivers know your intentions.

“Take your time, don’t speed and be patient.”

The most common mistakes, Todd said, are drivers not signalling, going too fast in the roundabouts and driving too aggressively.

He said the interchange does have good and clear signage, but with three roundabouts in quick succession and a lot of traffic, it can be daunting for some drivers.

“I can see the anxiety that people have,” he said.

Todd explained that people have to practise good driving habits at all times — from shoulder checking and looking in each direction, to yielding the right of way to vehicles already in the roundabout.

And signal, signal, signal.

The Sidney North Saanich RCMP say people should visit icbc.ca and check their link on roundabout driving tips, including:

– Yield to traffic that’s already inside the roundabout — it has the right of way.

– Keep moving while you’re in the roundabout. If an emergency vehicle approaches, don’t block its path.

– When you’re leaving the roundabout, signal a right turn just before you exit. That lets drivers waiting to enter the roundabout and pedestrians waiting to cross know your intentions.

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