Friday, October 22, 2010

Lessons in Driving

Merrillee here with a problem I would love to solve. In the area where I live, they have put in several traffic circles, also known as rotaries or roundabouts. They have caused all kinds of confusion. The roundabouts seem to bewilder many drivers who are unfamiliar with them. Even though the sign going into the circle says "Yield," people often stop. I have been behind some of these people and have to slam on my brakes, because there was no reason to stop. The driver should yield to any car already in the circle, but stopping isn't necessary when there are no cars in the rotary. Thankfully, our roundabouts are only one lane. I can't imagine the total chaos that might ensue if there were multiple lanes. Many days I would love to have a loud speaker mounted on my car, so I could give instructions on how to use the roundabout. Here are several photos of the roundabout that is still under construction near our home.

Notice the "YIELD" sign.

Another "YIELD" sign.

Have you had any experience with roundabouts? Is there anything that especially annoys you when driving?


Susan Sleeman said...

Merillee, It's common to have these in town squares in older small towns in the south. Kind of quaint there, but I don't particularly like them in the big city. We have one at our mall and people are always confused.

Stephanie Newton said...

We have one, fairly newly constructed, in our neighborhood. The people who live here are used to it. Visitors are surprised by it and slam on the brakes until they figure it out.

Roundabouts are commonplace in other countries. You rarely see a traffic light in some places.

Crystal Laine said...

They have started to have them in Indy and the suburbs of Indy (Carmel) and people don't like them because like you say, they're unfamiliar with them.(I live in Indiana.) I live in a rural area and we are used to tractors on the road blocking traffic, not fast roundabouts. (If only we had one to pass the tractors!)

Until Susan said something about them being in the South, I never thought of town squares that way! But she's right in it is basically the same principle with a courthouse in the middle of it. (My family lives in a town with one in Tennessee.)

It doesn't surprise me that roundabouts get a lot of confusion. I get the same frustration when people come to a 4-way stop. Either someone thinks that because he stopped behind another car that it's his turn, too, or someone who was there clearly before you "waves" you on, causing confusion.

Just follow the law! Ha. As if.

Pat Davids said...

I totally hate roundabouts. I'm terrified that I'll do something wrong when I'm in one. Give me a good old fashioned four way stop anyday.

Anonymous said...

We have round-abouts in Phoenix. I hate them. I will avoid going to a certain shopping area just to avoid them. I got into it with a traffic school instructor about their safety. The reasoning is that accidents will be minor fender-benders instead of t-bones or head -ons. My reasoning is there will be more accidents in the long run because of all the reason you all have stated above. It cuased a lively discussion in that class. :)And no I won't tell why I was there.

Merrillee said...

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts on the driving. I never thought of roundabouts as being a southern thing. My first experience with them was in Washington DC, then in a town near Boston and while visiting England. The biggest one I've ever seen is around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Now that one is totally scary.

Carrie Turansky said...

We call them traffic circles here in NJ. I'm used to them now, but it's always "fun" to see drivers use them who obviously aren't used to them. Look out!

Sheila Deeth said...

My favorite roundabout in England was one which had a set of five roundabouts to get onto (and off) it. Now that was chaos--surprisingly well-organized chaos, as long as you didn't mind taking the scenic route home.

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