If you live in an urban area, you’ve probably seen a roundabout. They’re all the rage these days, and for good reason too. The biggest advantage is that they increase traffic flow ten-fold. No waiting at a stoplight even though no one is at the cross section, no getting super backed up in places that aren’t built for being super backed up, et cetera. The pros were endless, and there didn’t seem to be any cons. Well, there were cons. But can we fault the government for not realizing that 90% of people on the road are complete idiots?
No one saw it coming, that’s for sure. But if the amount of people driving in the left lane could have been any indicator, they certainly should have. What is truly insane is the amount of good, competent drivers who go out of their way to avoid roundabouts. Not because they don’t know what they’re doing, but because they realize nobody else does. These things are a death trap. I know, because back in high school, shortly after they had just put in a fancy new roundabout that everyone was both excited and scared by, I had a friend whose stepfather took his moped out for a stroll. He was minding his business, following the rules of the road (and the roundabout) when he was sideswiped by a vehicle and endured massive injuries.
Now, I’m not calling for a cease to these roundabouts. Like I said, these things are great for traffic flow, and if you’ve learned anything about me from the first Peeves then it’s probably that I like to get where I’m going in a timely manner. All I’m saying, is that if we want to keep putting these damn things on our roads then we need to teach people how to use them. So I’m going to try my best to teach you, and what I need from you is to do something little Haley Joel taught us. Pay it forward. So when you read this, spread the word. Share it with your friends. Make sure your grandma knows what she’s doing the next time she hops into her Buick.
The best way I know to teach people how to use these is by replacing their image of what a roundabout is. Most of the roundabouts that you come into contact with are probably just tiny little two-lane things literally used to replace an intersection. But picture for a moment if that roundabout were expanded, with longer distances between each turning point, and a bunch of greenery in the middle so that you can’t even see the opposite side. Having that image in your head will make understanding how to maneuver through a roundabout much easier. Of course, if you actually do come across a roundabout this big, with more than two lanes… just turn around and go away if you want to live.
Alright, you’re approaching this big roundabout, and there’s two lanes. Think hard about where you want to go. Is there a gas station to the left that has the best 40 oz slurpees in town? Do you need to go straight because that’s where the onramp to the highway is? Is your apartment to the right? Once you know which direction you need to go, you can decide which lane to get in. If you’re going to the right, always be in the right lane. If you’re going straight you can generally be in either the left or right lane, but be sure to pay attention to road signs just in case the one you’re entering is different. Then if you need to get to that gas station, you should probably just be in the left lane. But like I said, check your road signs. Sometimes the left lane is reserved for only left turns, other times you can turn left from either lane. Just never, ever, EVER turn right from the left lane. You’re going to kill somebody.
Okay so you know what lane you need to be in, and you’re getting closer to the big moment. Now picture your entry point as the right turn lane onto a highway onramp – you know – with the yield signs. You slow down to make sure that nobody is coming from the left before you even enter the onramp, right? Well you should. Treat the roundabout the same way, slow down! Pretend like it’s a yield sign or something. Oh wait, IT IS A YIELD SIGN.
So you’re coming up to this big roundabout, and you’re yielding. Sure you look in front of you and to the right to make sure there is no one there, either a vehicle or a pedestrian (pedestrians fuck everything up, am I right?), but where you really want to pay attention is to the left. Make sure that there is nobody coming from around that corner that you can’t even see, then make sure that the guy in the big ass truck, that could probably drive right over you, sitting at the entry point to your left isn’t about to pull out. Then and only then, if it’s all clear, are you able to go. But wait! Do you have your turn signal on?
DON’T HAVE YOUR TURN SIGNAL ON! I don’t know why, but there is nothing that pisses me off more than a left turn signal in a roundabout. If you’re taking the first exit and there is no gap between your entry point and said exit, sure, flip your right hand turn signal on. But if you’re taking the third exit, or what would be left if the roundabout was gone, don’t turn your turn signal on! You’re not actually going left. You’re turning into a rightward-motioning roundabout! You shouldn’t turn your signal on until you get to your exit, no matter what exit that is, and it’ll ALWAYS be the right signal. If you’re going “straight,” or taking the second exit, wait til you get up to it and signal, whether you’re in the left or right lane. Same goes for the “left,” or third exit, don’t signal til you’re ready to get out of there. And when you are, signal right. Because, you know, that’s the direction you’re turning.
Now give yourself a Tiger Woods fist pump because you did it. You’re alive and you didn’t kill anybody else. Was that so hard? For further information and more good tips, you can check out this brochure. Just make note that it is for Wisconsin so your state might be a little different. Now remember, take this information and pass it on to your friends, family and countrymen. And tell ’em to quit being an asshole and learn how to drive. Thanks 🙂