Who has right of way at roundabout by Hospital Road?

| 22/07/2019 | 8 Comments
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

I would like to follow up on a recent post regarding three-way stops and in particular, that one at the junction of Hospital Road and Elgin Avenue. There are three-way stop signs on all sides but I don’t recall if there are give-way signs. If not, there should be. My question is, who IS supposed to give way upon reaching the junction of the stop? Is it the last vehicle to reach the stop? Traffic coming to and from Elgin Avenue always appears to think they have the right of way so vehicles just come funnelling through without even thinking to stop for a vehicle which has already arrived at the junction.

I have seen a few near misses where the driver coming from Hospital Road reaches the stop first and obviously feels that they have the right of way, and starts to make a turn but is narrowly missed by a driver coming from Elgin Ave who is just racing straight through.

If it is supposed to be a three-way stop and the first to arrive has right of way, then I wish there would be the relevant sign-posting and public education as I feel there is bound to be an accident in the not too distant future. National Roads Authority, please put up clear signage!


Auntie’s answer: With the new roundabout under construction by the airport and Printer Way, which looks like it is nearing completion, and the related changes to the nearby CNB roundabout (Elgin Avenue, Thomas Russell Avenue, Huldah Avenue and Crewe Road), your question provides a good opportunity to clarify how to negotiate these ubiquitous road junctions. The reason I am going over the rules one more time is that your concerns point to a misunderstanding of the road signs, which I will explain.

Most importantly, the junction by Hospital Road and Elgin Avenue is definitely, without question, a roundabout. As shown in the photo below, the blue circular sign with three arrows indicates a mini-roundabout ahead.

Cayman News Service
Cayman News Service

(For the record, to the left is what a “regular” roundabout sign looks like.) The reader incorrectly referred to the mini-roundabout sign as one alerting to a three-way stop, but did later email to say there were indeed give-way signs, which also can be seen in the photo.

With that in mind, and with thanks to the National Roads Authority for their help (and the photo), cars approaching the roundabout must, no matter its size, give way to the right. It follows then, that cars nearing the junction with no vehicles to the right can continue on without stopping, though obviously “racing straight through” is needlessly reckless.

It is always advisable to check that other drivers are following the rules, especially on Cayman’s roads. I would never assume that is the case and always double check before entering a roundabout.

I want to add that any misuse of this junction is not due to the NRA, which has set out all the appropriate signs. The fault lies with drivers misunderstanding the signs and mistakenly using the junction as a three-way stop.

With the reconfigured CNB roundabout, though, the NRA is trying to avoid any possible confusion by installing additional signage, including ones that say “Stay in your lane”, and the painting of yellow lines on the road to point drivers to proper lane usage.

For anyone still uncertain about the rules, here is a link to a page on the NRA website which takes you to brochures describing all the types of roundabouts that you will find in Cayman.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Traffic Questions

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It would be much easier and safer if all the roundabouts were repla d by traffic signs.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Problem with the roundabouts and other places is nobody uses their indicators. I don’t think they don’t know how, they are just lazy or think it is cool? But since nobody does nobody has any idea of where people intend to go so we have to try to read their mind. I wish the police would crack down this instead of tint as I think these kind of things are a higher priority.

  3. Anonymous says:

    bit like the dump road roundabout or the one by parker’s, they are not 3 way stops either.. though 1/2 the cars seem to think so.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you very much Auntie – I really do appreciate the clarification as I was honestly not sure. Interestingly, this morning I reached the end of Hospital Road, waited for two vehicles racing through from my right ( Plus a motorcycle ) – then, when the way was clear, I proceeded to make a right turn only to be met by a vehicle racing through from the direction of the Police Station. They did stop but it was a close thing and it was not for the want of them trying to push straight through ahead of me. I think the watchword is caution as usual because in that case, he didn’t even seem aware that there was a roundabout, yield sign or anything in his path. Thanks again – your help on the myriad of topics you cover is invaluable !

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you could bear in mind also that you’re always coming from Hospital Road, which is a minor road compared to Elgin Avenue and given the angle at which Hospital Road, (which is also narrow and does not open up at the end due to property on either side), connects with the roundabout, you are basically either making a left turn for all intents and purposes or you are going around most of the roundabout to make a right turn. It makes sense that you would have to stop there because you can’t see anything until you reach the roundabout. This is not the situation a driver on Elgin Avenue has; they can see your car approaching the junction, judge your speed and distance and their own and barely have to flick the wheel one way then the other to navigate the roundabout, unless (as CNS says), another car is already coming from the right (i.e. in the roundabout already). These differences are the reason for different behaviour from drivers on Elgin Avenue, not disregard for other cars and by implication, the safety of those inside them. When I am on the rare occasion coming from Hospital Road, I stop just like you but I fear I may be one of those who seems to you to race through on Elgin Avenue. I’ll bear this in mind and take a closer look at the layout the next time I’m on the road, but the layout is the layout.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If BOTH drivers are indicating BEFORE entering the roundabout then the intentuons are obvious and correct actions should be taken.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Four way stops or three way stops are different from a roundabout.

    When a driver approaches a four way or three way stop, the first driver that stops first at the line, has the right away.

    I have noticed that some drivers have used these stops like a roundabout.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CNS, I believe they sent you an American roundabout sign or you somehow ended up with a mirror image. The arrows should be pointed in a clockwise direction.

    CNS: Oops! Completely missed that. I have now corrected. Thanks!

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