Roundabouts on Amelia Island

With spring and visitors in full force back on Amelia Island, negotiating traffic circles has become confusing to some.

Roundabout at S. Fletcher and Sadler Road

With Spring having arrived in full force and the Easter Week holiday traffic filling up our island roads, once again the issue of properly negotiating a roundabout has come up; roundabouts… oh you know traffic circles. Island Girl wrote a clarification about how to go about traffic on the roundabout last year, but word reached us that even a local enforcement officer allegedly had plans to ticket someone because as he stated: “You have to wait driving onto the Roundabout until it is completely cleared of traffic.” We think this is either an oversight by the officer in question, a misinterpreted explanation or there is still some confusion going around.
Obviously traffic to one side could come to an absolute standstill if, if you’d have to wait until the entire roundabout clears of traffic. So here once again is the explanation.

Let me clearly state that we love to have tourists visit our Amelia Island paradise and as more are coming, more traffic roundabouts will dot the road infra structure. Currently there are only 4, one at the beginning of 14th Street near the Airport, 2 on the parkway (A1A) at the entrances to Amelia Island Plantation and the most profiled one at the end of Sadler Road at South Fletcher Avenue. It’s the one I need to navigate daily and lately I feel a sense of anxiety coming over me when approaching this roundabout. My little Miata has narrowly escaped serious damage on several occasions as many visitors seem to be completely unaware of how to properly drive a roundabout. So to help you out, here is a simple explanation.

1) Those are Yield Signs, NOT Stop Signs. Yield Signs are used to protect traffic that flows without requiring it to come to a complete stop. So when you come upon a Yield Sign at a roundabout, you need to look to your left and if there is no traffic coming, GO!
Traffic gets backed up fast and people will start honking.
Traffic includes vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Which brings us to the area where most people get completely confused.

2) Once you are past the yield sign and in the roundabout, DO NOT STOP in the middle of your turn. Continue to the roundabout’s exit you need to take and get out. The vehicles to your right are supposed to yield to YOU. Keep going because when some one rear ends you, it will more than likely ruin your vacation.
There are exceptions to the rule. Twice now when I was “inside” the roundabout, someone almost pulled into the side of me. I guess they could not see the huge “YIELD” signs. Just stay alert and no one should get hurt. In general, don’t try to be courteous and let someone in, because the person behind you may not see what you do and rear end you.

3) When you get to your roundabout exit destination, smoothly get out and have a great time and enjoy the island.
“Nobody ever yielded their way into a collision.” Think about it. If you are in doubt about who has the right of way, give it away, but not, I emphasize NOT while you’re in the middle of a roundabout.

Have a great and safe stay on Amelia Island and come back often.


  1. meghannb

    We have lots of traffic circles at home here in Alberta but I have never seen drivers like you have in Florida, roundabouts or not PLEASE USE YOUR SIGNAL when going into the traffic circle it lets people behind you know which part of the circle you will be exiting to and also just in general, cutting people off driving and not using signals at all to change lanes, driving was a bit CRAZY!!
    Good luck:)

  2. tommylee

    Additional clarification. If the roundabout has 2 lanes and 4 or more exits the entrance to the roundabout has most likely 2 lanes. An inner and an outer lane.

    The golden rules is: The Outer Lane is ONLY to EXIT the first available exit!when you enter the roundabout.

    If you are certain you will be exiting the first available exit on the roundabout you will need to approach the roundabout in the right line and enter, when safe, the right lane of the roundabout and exit the first (1/4 around).

    All other traffic that negotiates either the second, third and fourth exit MUST use the left lane or inner lane of the roundabout (continuous flow lane) when approaching the roundabout. Only after you passed the exits you are NOT going to exit the roundabout from you need to cross over to the outer or right lane. You can do this safely since you ALWAYS have right of way on a Roundabout (unless stated otherwise in some countries).

    The use of directional light is actually not advised on a roundabout due to the MUST rule.

    So recap: “going to exit the first available exit on the roundabout you use the RIGHT lane. All other Exits 1/2, 3/4 or 4/5 going around you MUST use the left lane and enter the roundabout on the Inner circle until you almost reach your exit and ONLY then cross to the Exit Lane (outer lane) and no sooner!!!

    If the approach to the roundabout has only one lane the roundabout in most cases has only one lane as well. Here the rule is that you MUST wait until the roundabout is cleared. If however the roundabout has only one approach and TWO lanes on the roundabout, unless you are going to exit the first available exit, you again MUST use the inner lane to negotiate until you get to your exit. In This case you don't have to wait until all traffic is cleared from the roundabout.

    If you're uncertain about your exit ALWAYS continue driving on the INNER lane even if it means that you are going to make a full circle or even going twice around the roundabout (ALWAYS on the INNER lane), and only when you reach your right exit cross over to the outer lane when your exit is coming up!!!!

    Always remember: Traffic on the roundabout has ALWAYS right of way.

  3. publisher_sa

    to Meghan on traffic circles: we need a lot more than good luck here. And you know that it is impossible to signal when one hand is pushing a phone to you ear, the other is strapped around a 64oz. can of Coke and the knee is doing the steering.
    But: Dear Tourist: to know you is to love you. So we just drive a bit slower and are double alert. No problem, mon.

  4. publisher_sa

    Oh do I remember the days living on the Dutch/German border, when in Germany circle traffic had the right of way and in Holland traffic approaching from the right had the right of way. Roundabouts on Saturday shopping days resembled boxing cars on a fair with ensuing verbal recollections of WWII.

  5. blacklablover

    Two thoughts:
    1. Drivers in Rome are laughing at (with) us.
    2. A client recently came into my office, late for his appointment, and livid about being stopped by an officer at the Fletcher roundabout-for entering the circle while another car was in the circle! Ebb and flow, folks, rhythm. KISS

  6. blacklablover

    Addendum to 'two thoughts':
    Pedestrians should not be crossing the street-In-the roundabout.

  7. blacklablover

    But what if there is an EMT rescue truck coming close to the roundabout? Thought I'd throw that in for a little excitement…..

  8. publisher_sa

    The devil made you say that. Of course all emergency vehicles have right of way, roundabout or not.

  9. ameliadude

    Did you know that if a police car with blue lights on, an ambulance with lights on, a fire truck with sirens blaring and a Postal Service truck all hit that roundabout at the same time the Postal Service actually has the right of way! Interesting huh?

  10. blacklablover

    Snail mail needs all the help it can get.

  11. blacklablover

    Snail mail needs all the help it can get.

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