Saturday, April 6, 2013

How to Drive Around a Stupid Roundabout

There are certain things that can be difficult about driving-parallel parking, 5:00 traffic, an enormous number of idiots, but there are some things that should not be very difficult.  Case in point:  roundabouts.  It should NOT be that hard!  There is a roundabout as you enter my neighborhood and there are several more in the downtown area.  They are single lane roundabouts so there is nothing wild and hairy going on.  It's literally a circle.  Drive around it without hitting anyone!

But no.  No.  Just no.  It can't be that simple.  For some reason, people cannot understand how to navigate them.  Here is what the Washington State Department of Transportation says (I don't know why them, they just pulled up on Google):

As you approach a roundabout, you will see a yellow "roundabout ahead" sign with an advisory speed limit for the roundabout. 

Slow down as you approach the roundabout, and watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk. 

Continue toward the roundabout and look to your left as you near the yield sign and dashed yield line at the entrance to the roundabout. Yield to traffic already in the roundabout. 

Once you see a gap in traffic, enter the circle and proceed to your exit. If there is no traffic in the roundabout, you may enter without yielding. 

Look for pedestrians and use your turn signal before you exit, and make sure to stay in your lane as you navigate the roundabout.

Okay of those, almost all of them should be common sense.  The only thing you really need to know is that the person to the left has the right of way.  Also, not included in this:  Do NOT Freakin' STOP in the middle of the roundabout!!!!!  People!  That is an awesome way to get hit!  I hate when people who should have the right of way are just sitting there looking at you all annoyed and you are wildly gesticulating that they are a moron who cannot drive and you wish with your whole self that they would just go!!

Finally, while we are on this topic, let's talk about giving directions when a roundabout is involved.  A roundabout (particularly here) has four outlets.  If I say, go halfway around then I mean go 180 degrees from you are you, if there was no middle planter thing that there is usually in the center then you would go straight through, take the second outlet.  All these things really mean the same thing.  Yet you would  not believe the number of people who struggle with this.  Eye roll.

Okay I'm going to climb down off this soapbox and end by saying, if the French can safely (relatively speaking) drive around the massive, crowded, multi-lane roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe, then SURELY to Goodness we can master a single lane, no traffic one.  Get it together Americans, get that $#&( together.

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