Roundabouts

I was planning on writing a wee little blurb about my roundabout peeves for this  category, but I just had too much to say.  Too many peeves.  Too many idiots on the road who don’t know the rules.  Too many people who should not have their drivers license.  Too many people who should learn about manners.  Too many people who should not own pets.  Too many people who pick their nose in public and don’t tip servers enough.  Ooops.  Got a bit carried away, there.  Sorry, not sorry.

I live in an area where round-abouts are a fairly new thing.  It’s a big place.  You may have heard of it?  Canada??!!??  Anyhooooo, a large number of roundabouts (read: driving nightmares) have popped up in the last couple years not too far from where I live.

First, let it be known that I have no idea why taxpayers are forced to spend millions and millions of dollars to rip up perfectly good and safe intersections to replace them with driving obstructions (read: roundabouts) that no-one has any clue about how to drive through.

We were told (brainwashed) that roundabouts would help with safety and flow of traffic.  Bullcrap!!  I come across more accidents at the roundabouts than I did at the previous intersections.  However, the accidents now include pedestrians because the planning department thought it would be a great idea to add crosswalks at both the entry points and the exit points of the roundabouts.

Oh yes!!  You heard me right, my friends.  So, it’s not enough that we just got roundabouts shoved down our throats that most people have no idea how to navigate through, but now we have to watch for pedestrians crossing in front of us while we’re panicking to watch traffic and look for our clean break to enter or exit the traffic circle.  Seriously.  Pedestrians are taking their lives into their own hands to cross through roundabouts.

At a brand new round-about close to my place, a young student was hit and sent flying by a school bus on the first day of school.  She was in a coma for months.  Smart planning!!

Not only are there just as many accidents, in my humble opinion, but I made sure to time myself on multiple occasions from one end of the city to the other before they started working on the roundabouts.  I have, again, timed myself a number of times since the 5 roundabouts were put in place.  No difference of time!!!  And the roundabouts get just as congested and cause just as many slowdowns as the traffic lights once did.  Was that worth the millions and millions of dollars spent?  To the contract-winning construction company, oh yes!!

Never the less, the lovely traffic circles are now here and we just have to live with them.  Or die trying.

So let’s go over a few lessons, shall we?  Please feel free to pass this onto anyone you know who needs a lesson in driving through these things.

  1.  THERE IS NO STOP SIGN AT THE ENTRANCE TO A ROUNDABOUT.                             No, really.  Check for yourself.  You won’t find one.  Drivers must YIELD (see above photo for further clarification) to the traffic currently in the roundabout.  If there is no traffic coming through the roundabout at the time you are entering, OR if there is sufficient time for you to enter the roundabout before the on-coming vehicle in the roundabout gets to you…for the love of God….GO!!!!!!!!  There is no reason for drivers to come to an abrupt and complete stop when I am entering the roundabout 6 feet from their ass end.  Do you know how many back bumpers I have almost kissed because the driver in the car in front of me decided it was necessary to come to a dead stop before entering the vacant roundabout??!!??
  2. DRIVERS ALREADY IN THE ROUNDABOUT HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY OVER DRIVERS ABOUT TO ENTER THE ROUNDABOUT                                                                                                         This means, my sweet little cupcakes, and listen very closely………once you’re already in the roundabout (and I am, again, 6 feet from your back bumper),  YOU DON’T HAVE TO SLAM ON YOUR BRAKES TO LET SOMEONE ENTER AHEAD OF YOU!!  Holy crap!  Really??!!  Yeah, these traffic circles are soooo much safer than traffic lights!  Fuh!!
  3. ONCE I AM IN THE ROUNDABOUT, PLEASE WAIT FOR ME TO DRIVE BY YOU INSTEAD OF TRYING TO ENTER THE ROUNDABOUT THROUGH MY PASSENGER DOOR!                                                                                                                                                         This one, I don’t understand.  There must be some sort of time warp thing going on at roundabouts that cause drivers to completely lose their sense of timing and judgement.  Again, I can’t count the number of times I have been driving through a roundabout and nearly been t-boned by someone entering the roundabout.  Whah???  They certainly would have seen me coming; I WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM.  Even if they thought I was going to continue around the roundabout and not exit right in front of them, they would still be driving right into my car.  I don’t get it.  But I’ve had to hit the brakes a number of times to avoid being t-boned by someone entering.  One time, it was a big transport truck.  Did he think he was just going to nip in ahead of me without me even noticing??!!  Not likely.  That one will continue to baffle me.
  4. IN THE 2-LANED ROUNDABOUTS, DRIVERS IN THE OUTSIDE LANE MUST EXIT AT THE NEXT EXIT AND NOT CONTINUE AROUND THE ROUNDABOUT.                However, drivers in ANY LANE may exit the roundabout at any time. This seems to be the trickiest rule to understand and the one that causes me most of my near hits (if it was a ‘near miss’, then it would be a ‘hit’, wouldn’t it??).  It may also be one of the lesser understood rules that cause the confusion in Point #3, above.  I am often in the inside lane about to exit a round-about, yet the driver in the outside lane next to me is planning on driving around the circle and cuts me off in my attempt to exit.  I completely understand why the other driver would not think I would be allowed to exit the circle from the inside lane, but this is where knowing the rules of the road come into play.  There are traffic-flow signs at the entry point of the roundabouts and arrows painted on each lane of the traffic circle for a reason.  LOOK AT THEM, PEOPLE!!

What should you take from this?  Trust no-one on the road, especially in new’ish roundabouts.  I am always on guard when approaching and driving through a roundabout.  I never assume that my fellow driver knows the rules of the road or how to apply them.  That may sound negative and pessimistic, but it’s the only way I can assure I’ll get to the other side of the roundabout without my hair getting messed up.

Kathleen Bolton

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