How to drive a roundabout

UPDATE #2: Civil engineer Paul Kachelmyer underlined numerous reasons why roundabouts are a good idea, especially on Highway 7.

UPDATE: MnDOT plans to tweak the roundabout designs and add signage (click here). To read unhappy blog comments, scroll down.

[vid]8-DJHGO-IzM[/vid]

With one of two new roundabouts on Highway 7 being completed, engineers are discovering that local drivers can become disoriented easily with roundabouts. In particular, a handful of senior citizens have been found to stop in the middle of the road. In one case, a driver went the wrong way.

The finished roundabout (sometimes called a traffic circle), which opened last month, is located at Carver County Road 10 and Highway 7. A second roundabout is under construction at Highways 25 and 7 just west of Watertown.

The intersection of Highway 25 and Highway 7 in Carver County remains closed, and work continues on construction of a roundabout at this intersection.
MnDOT officials at the Hutchinson region office would like to provide the following roundabout driving tips for motorists.

To see a second video of “How to drive a roundabout,” click here.

25 comments

  1. The Big Easy says:

    I notice that the video shows a residential area with
    problably a 30 MPH speed limit, and 2 cars. Now imagine
    a 60 mph highway with (during rush hour) numerous cars
    and large trucks coming from 4 directions. Then after you pick your speed back up again, you go into the second roundabout. Who in MDOT had this bright idea and how much
    did they get in kickbacks? I predict numerous problems
    once Hwy 7 is opened fully. MDOT should have had forward vision and made Hwy 7 a four lane road while they
    had the chance. They will be re-doing it again in 10-15 years.

  2. Concerned HWY 7 Driver says:

    I am not sure how this is going to be a positive thing, especially on, what some call, SUICIDE 7~ As the post before mine mentioned, the speeds will make it more difficult for the elderly person, who is used to a straight shot down 7, than it seems worth it. THere is a construction project on Hwy 15 N (of Hwy7) in Hutchinson as well, and my MAIN question (and maybe it is stupid) is this……. HOW will the semis be able to go thru these “stupid” (IMO) things when they have such a long load behind them? I keep envisioning these “round abouts” as the revolving door in the enterance of Cash Wise Foods in Hutch~ I do not like those types of doors either~ I do not know the “cost” of a roundabout project, but it seems to me, that some of the places (such as the one on N Hwy 15) would have been better off as a stop light~

  3. two detours a day says:

    I travel highway 7 everyday going to work that roundabout is a joke I drive a small car and i struggle to go 20 mph going from Co Rd 10 to highway 7 east. The best thing that the DOT should have done is a concrete road with overpasses and underpasses at 10 and 25.when 7 opens up again it is going to be a mess.I hope the State Patrol is close by because the are going to be busy.

  4. concerned driver of suicide 7 says:

    Taking the roundabout every day twice a day is quite un-nerving and this is without the highschool kids driving which will soon be happening, as well as semi trucks and bad road conditions due to MN weather. They just made Highway 7 more dangerous.

  5. two detours a day says:

    one other thing about 7 is the snowplowing. Why is it that 7 is plowed better on the east of highway 25 than west of 25????????

  6. Twice a day driver says:

    Just wait till this fall when the farm equipment has to go thru these,
    then you will see a mess

  7. MARY ORTLOFF says:

    Most roundabouts I have seen have plants in the middle. Some quite tall. These plants should not be there. They obstruct the view of traffic entering from the other side. It would be easier to enter if you knew what was coming around the bend.

  8. Deb says:

    Never heard highway 7 called Suicide Highway, but with these round abouts it is very fitting name. Luckily I work in Shakopee and do not have to take highway 7, I can take 212 (Thank God). If I do need to get east of highway 10, I will be taking the back roads. Those round abouts are the stupidest things I have ever seen. And since when does a major state highway have to yield to a county road??? Whoever designed the stretch of road between 10 and 25 should be fired. Can you imagine the backup when there is an accident. I agree if people can’t be more cautious at those 2 intersections bridges should of been built. Highway 7 always had the right of way and I don’t know how many times I’ve had to hit my brakes at those intersections because someone pulls out in front of me, maybe the police should of patrolled it a little more often and given tickets to those people for not yielding.

  9. Why in the world?! says:

    What I want to know is what you’re supposed to do when someone doesn’t stop at the intersection while you’re going “across” the roundabout. Not all the cars stop so then you end up stopping in the middle of the circle. It’s stupid, there are endless accidents waiting to happen for this pointless addition.

  10. The Big Easy says:

    Looks like we have alot of positive views of these roundabouts. Another blunder by the government. Lets
    build some more on every major highway if they are so great.

  11. DC Grandma says:

    This Grandma will be traveling the Highway 15 North & North High Drive Roundabout in north Hutchinson when the road opens this fall. It will be an interesting commute since most folks will not know how to maneuver in it especially when it will be busy, busy on Friday afternoons. But again, we have our wonderful folks at MnDot to thank for their insightful decision to go this route. Personally, I think a four-way stop would have been more cost effective but the money must have been burning in their pockets so they built a roundabout instead. Perhaps MnDot would have been better off spending their budget on road improvements rather than spending over $1 million for this fiasco. Again, a classic example of what is wrong in the US today!!

  12. New Germany Res. says:

    You don’t put a 15 MPH. roundabout on a 60 MPH. highway, you build a 60 MPH roundabout. If you don’t have enough area you go with something else which in this case they didn’t because of the power station at hwy.10 & 7 and there would have been a 3rd one at hwy 33 but the Ranch House was to close for even a 15 mph. roundabout. The people having to use these roundabouts are probably not engineer’s and can see this is not a good idea or going to work. I’m glad we have a new transportation secretary because the previous was clearly a fool and you would have thought she would have looked after her own home town area. But that would have required some effort on her part. Isn’t it apparent the state doesn’t care about the people having to use these 15 mph roundabouts,I sent an e-mail to our representative who lives in Victoria and still no response back.

  13. Hwy 7 resident says:

    My family and I live just east of the new Hwy 7 & County Road 10 roundabout right on Hwy 7 and I need to add my 2 cents worth. Now that Hwy 7 is open to 10, it seems that traffic is getting back close to normal. We’ve been thru the County Road 10 roundabout quite a bit just to see if any of these “complaints” are justified. Well from what we’ve seen the roundabout seems to work really well aside from a few people who are not sure what to do with this “new thing” in the road. I think everyone should give these a shot before they pass judgment and just keep in mind that it might take a little bit until everyone figures out how they should be used. We like that they have made the intersections safer because of the slower speed limit. I’ve lived in this area my whole life and have seen/heard quite a few serious and fatal accidents at that intersection. With this new roundabout the chances of t-bone crashes are almost eliminated. We don’t think bridges would have been a good idea because of how much room would have been required for on ramps and off ramps, and how much more they would have cost.

  14. Deb says:

    Let’s all make sure to visit the Ranch House and thank them. We need to make sure that building stays there.

  15. The Big Easy says:

    Hwy 7 resident, traffic is not even close to back to normal.
    Hwy 7 west of 10 is still closed so you are seeing only a portion of the traffic that will be using it. Trucks and
    rush hour traffic to the west is yet to come. Save your
    judgement until we see that fiasco. I do agree that fatal
    accidents will be eliminated, but we could have done that with a stop light.

  16. LEFT LESTER says:

    This is a classic example of state and transportation leaders NOT LISTENING. As in plugging their ears and going LALALA like a 5 year old. The roundabouts on Hwy 7 are just the dumbest Idea. Accidents at 7 and 10 and 7 and 25 are due to people taking stupid chances most of the accidents have been preventable another 10 seconds of patients would have kept someone from being killed. A four lane would have been the best way to rebuild 7. People already do not like using Hwy 7 but they do because they commute. I used to commute from Lester Prairie to the cities everyday I have since moved back to the cities. More and More people will be doing the same and the small towns along 7 will be left holding the Tax Bag. A four lane Hwy 7 could prevent the people from leaving and actually bring more people and businesses
    out west on 7 rather than letting those towns to dry up because people will not drive it. Its is really to bad no one wanted to listen.

  17. concerned driver of suicide 7 says:

    I have been taking highway 7 to CR 10 for 4 years. Traffic is nothing right now compared to when the highway will be completely open. Being concerned about the roundabout with trucks needing to slow down, highschool kids, icy roads. The concerns are quite justified.

  18. Hwy 7 says:

    I’ve lived in Lester Prairie my entire life and have driven to work in the metro area on Hwy 7 for for nearly 35 years.
    It has always been called “Suicide 7″(Hwy 5= “Fatal 5″, Hwy 12 =”Trecherous 12″).
    Roundabouts are not the answer – especially SINGLE lane roundabouts.
    Are they planing on putting roundabouts at every intersection on every Hwy that has accidents?
    A stop light and more squad cars patrolling the Hwys would have been more effective. Maybe there would be less drivers reading newspapers, eating cereal from a bowl, putting on makeup, turning around yelling at their kids, and passing me because I’m going to SLOW at 60mph.
    Why aren’t there passing lanes AFTER the roundabouts so traffic isn’t slowed down by the semi’s trying to get back to the speed limit? That mound in the center is ridiculous-it has to go. Talk about a blind spot!
    It’s not just the older generation that is confused at the roundabout – I’ve seen middle aged drivers STOPPING and gawking.
    They can put up as many signs as they want, but it just gives people more distractions.
    For the first time in my life, I look forward to a politian knocking on my door for my vote. They are going to get an earful.
    Talk about WASTED tax dollars.
    (Has anyone started taking bets on when they will be removed and lights installed?)

  19. Common Sense says:

    I agree these roundabouts – how they were built, where they are situated – leave me bewildered. Unless the DOT knows something we don’t that they haven’t shared with the public, this just seems like a bad idea that will not serve the purpose. I can’t believe this is the best the DOT could come up with. Thank God I am not a regular commuter! I hope in the end we’re all wrong, but I can’t see how at this point.

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  21. coleen says:

    The roundabouts in Minnesota where not designed correctly in the first place. If you have ever gone out East or have been in a foreign country you will see that the roundabouts are much larger. The roundabouts here are TOO SMALL for 18 wheelers, large motorhomes, farm equipment, etc. Now all the truckers who are hauling long loads are diverting around Hutchinson which can cause some lost of revenue for the city.

    This winter it will be a NIGHTMARE to drive because it will get slick fast, drifts will be numerous. I can only image how the snowplow drivers are already complaining about cleaning the roundabouts. The cement is already chipped, people have driving up on the center part and also driving off the circle. Each week there are several new skid marks from people who have been taking by surprise with the traffic circle. Mark my words there will be a tragic accident there this year.

    MDOT tried to tell the public that this would be cheaper then maintaining a traffic light. Please, I don’t think so because they have already been out every week to fix the grass, replace signage, etc.

    I think that person or persons who wanted Minnesota to have these stupid things should be fired from their jobs. This is horrible and within five years they will probably be ripped out and a traffic light put in its place.

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  24. montrose says:

    Council Member Jeff Petersen of Montrose MN was caught taking Campaign Signs. He has received 3 citations, 2 for theft. Video is on youtube.

  25. James Tourville says:

    Thank You, We have “No Wackos” on the city council! What are you spending your time on?