I spend a considerable amount of my time driving in circles, and I couldn’t be happier. In the past few years five impenetrable intersections in my town controlled by traffic lights have been replaced with roundabouts. While the time to traverse these once problematic intersections has been reduced by several minutes and the number of accidents has also declined, people generally despise roundabouts…mainly because they have no idea how to navigate them. For me, not only do I get to continue on my way quicker and more safely, I gain the unintended advantage of being entertained by the roundabout-challenged.
How hard can it be to enter a circle, drive a portion of its circumference, exit at the appropriate time and continue your trip? HA! I present to you the “edLines Roster of Roundabout Rubes.”
1-The WTF: One of the rules of the roundabout is to always keep moving. This person enters the flow of the roundabout expertly enough but at some point their brain takes a break while their foot hits the brakes causing their vehicle to stop dead in the middle of the circle while they ponder WTF to do next. Horns honk, middle fingers fly, fender benders are initiated and completed and we all get to meet one of our town’s Finest who tries not to roll his or her eyes while dying to ask the driver, “WTF?!”
2-The Creepy Crawlie: This driver is scared shitless of the roundabout. I imagine this person popping a nitro tablet before approaching their personal “circle of death.” It starts fine as they reach that point where the coast is either clear and you can enter the roundabout, or you have to pause to wait for an opening. The problem is, in either case they just never move out of fear of being swept away in the fast-moving current in the River Roundabout. Traffic starts stacking up behind them, horns honk, middle fingers fly, fender benders are initiated and completed and we all get to meet one of our town’s Finest who tries not to roll his or her eyes while dying to ask the driver, “WTF?!” You see a pattern?
3-The Scario Andretti: The truth of the matter is modern roundabouts are fairly small, in order to actually coax drivers into slowing down. It’s a safety thing. But The Scario Andretti thinks it’s the two-mile Indy oval and jams the pedal to the metal screeching rubber around the tight circle, cutting off those around him/her and as late as possible, decides on which exit to take and careens onto the straightaway you and I know as… a road. You know what frequently happens? I’ll bet you do. Yup. Horns honk, middle fingers fly, fender benders are initiated and completed and we all get to meet one of our town’s Finest who tries not to roll his or her eyes while dying to ask the driver, “WTF?!”
It turns out that some roundabout-phobes will actually drive miles out of their way to avoid one, when learning to survive this handy device would have saved them time and aggravation. For me, aside from the obvious advantages they provide, the ancillary entertainment value of viewing the actions of the roundabout-challenged has my head spinning… in circles.