New law gives preference to big rigs in roundabouts

A roundabout. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana motorists will soon have to change the way they drive near large trucks in a roundabout or face a fine.

To help with flow and safety, many cities and the Indiana Department of Transportation construct roundabouts.

“I had to get used to them because for a while I couldn’t understand why people were blowing and cursing at me,” driver Anita Lewis said.

“Initially, it was a little bit sketchy,” driver Dan Martin said.

“It takes a while to get used to it,” driver Andrea Burnett said. “If you’re a new driver, I realize it’s difficult.”

Instead of a traffic light or stop signs, a roundabout allows drivers to keep moving. Prior to entering, drivers must yield to vehicles inside the circle.

But soon, a new law will force motorists to yield while driving inside the roundabout when a truck that’s 40 feet long and 10 feet wide is nearby.

“I actually don’t like driving next to big rigs,” Lewis said. “I’m good at it, but if that’s the law, then we have to obey it. Apparently we must need it.”

“It makes sense,” Martin said. “I wasn’t aware of it, but they better get the word out so people understand that.”

“Yielding to [trucks], I have no problem with it, but I think [truck drivers] need to know the size of the roundabout,” Burnett said.

If you’re driving on roundabout after July 1, and there’s a semitractor trailer either next to you, or you’re following it, you have to slow down and yield because the semitruck driver will have the right of way.

Failure to yield, could cost you money. The infraction carries a fine of up to $500.

“That’s a little steep,” Martin said. “I think maybe $50 bucks or something, but not $500. Especially when people aren’t aware of it. Over time maybe, but that’s excessive.”

With July approaching, drivers said they’ll learn quick to avoid making their head spin even more.

“I’m not very big fan of paying tickets and so, of course, I don’t want to give someone any extra money than I have to, so I definitely will yield to big rigs,” Lewis said.

The law also impacts truck drivers. If two semitrucks are driving side by side in roundabout, the driver on the right must yield to the truck on the left.

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