Monday, July 27, 2009

I didn't want to have to do this...

...but I've been witness to too many close-calls in the last little while, and seen too much evidence that the following is badly needed.

That being the case, please take a seat and make yourselves comfortable, whilst I explain, carefully and hopefully without too much condescension, how to navigate a round-about or, as I know it, a traffic circle.

Driving in a traffic circle should be very simple and very straight-forward, provided that everyone does it properly and doesn't act like a weenie.

Let me explain that one of the primary methods that I see employed by my fellow drivers, what I refer to as the "close my eyes and drive and hope nobody hits me" method of driving in a traffic circle is THE WRONG WAY. No good comes of this.

So here are the rules, some of which are actual rules, and some of which is just good advice:

1. People inside the traffic circle always have the right-of-way over people who are outside it. This means that nobody inside the traffic circle will stop to let you into it. Do not proceed into the traffic circle until you have an adequate window in which to do so.

2. Don't change lanes inside the traffic circle.

3. Turn signals are an important tool when navigating a traffic circle. When you are inside the traffic circle, you should be indicating a turn to the left (in North America). When you reach the quarter of the traffic circle at which you are exiting, you should be indicating a turn to the right.

4. Within the traffic circle, people in the inside lane have the right-of-way over people in the outside lane. The easiest way to manage this is to use the outside lane only if you are exiting at your first opportunity. Use the inside lane when you are exiting anytime after your first opportunity.

5. If you insist on driving in the outside lane passed your first opportunity to exit, YOU MUST (and this is key) YIELD TO DRIVERS EXITING FROM THE INSIDE LANE AT EACH EXIT. This means that each time you are passing an exit in the outside lane, you must slow down and check to see if there is anybody in your inside lane who is exiting. If there is, you must stop and let these people exit. If you don't do this, do not be surprised when that person in the inside lane runs into you with their car and then looks at you like this:
6. If you are driving in the outside lane and you yield to a person exiting from the inside lane and somebody behind you honks at you and flips you the bird, don't worry about this person. Clearly, this person is a dweeb. Drive away puffed up with pride that you have made Chorus very proud.

7. If this rule about yielding the right-of-way to the inside lane seems confusing, believe me when I say that it is much simpler if you just use the outside lane for immediate exits and the inside lane for all other exits. This way, you don't have to worry about yielding to anybody; you should just be able to drive!

I believe that a properly driven traffic circle is smoother, faster and safer than your average lit intersection. But if you drive them like a jackass, you endanger not only yourself but everyone around you. So don't do that.

Person in the dark-blue Chevy Tahoe who cut me off when I was exiting yesterday, THIS MEANS YOU.

1 comment:

Crimson Rambler said...

The face of the person who runs into you from the inside lane is Very Fine and well observed...