Monday, September 13, 2010

American roundabouts

Roundabouts are a wonderful invention. Traffic generally flows on and off without too much hassle. You wait for a gap in traffic, the hop on, and hop off at your required exit.
Here in America, they've taken that notion and ruined it by turning roundabouts into 4-way stops - sort of like traffic lights on roundabouts in England but without the lights. So rather than flowing traffic, like they're supposed to, they stop traffic. Worse, if the roundabout is big enough, rather than giving way to traffic already on the roundabout like everywhere else in the world, you have to give way to traffic entering the roundabout.

It does rather explain the following comment I saw once:
Watching Americans trying to negotiate a roundabout in England is an entertaining and embarrassing representation of the human ignorance about an intersection that does not require you to stop but does require you to yield. It seems to cause some sort of severe psychological disorder since it is neither green nor red, but requires them to steer and calculate approaching distances at the same time.

5 comments:

Razak said...

Sounds like your describing a traffic circle or rotary more then a roundabout, ive never been on one but ive read about them and they sound like a truly bad idea!

Chris said...

Yep - traffic circle. They work great when they're properly constructed :)

Silas said...

There's a roundabout a couple of miles from me. The Mrs, who grew up here, will go miles out of her way to avoid it. I grew up in England, and apart from the nagging feeling that I should be going round it clockwise rather than anticlockwise, have no trouble with it... and nor, it seems, do the huge numbers of SUV-driving parents who have to use it to reach the school that's nearby.

Paul said...

There's near where we live and it has stops actually on the round about! So you're going around it and you have to stop to allow traffic on, I think they've missed the point?

Anonymous said...

No one does roundabouts like Milton Keynes you don't drop any speed as you go around them but the traffic flows just fine.