Sunday, November 11, 2007

Roundabout Way

When my daughter and I were in Delaware last month, we encountered a traffic situation I had never seen before. They whimsically call this a "roundabout". Here's what the Delaware department of transportation says about them:

A roadway "Roundabout" is a circular intersection that moves traffic counterclockwise around a central island. Often confused with traditional "traffic circles", roundabouts differ in that they feature traffic calming qualities that encourage drivers to reduce their speed through the intersection. The design of a roundabout also reduces the need for direct left turns, which are the major reason for intersection crashes, thereby increasing the overall safety aspect of the intersection.

And this is what I have to say about them:


There we are, navigating in a strange place at night, and the sign above appears, followed immediately by another sign:

It was one of these, I swear. Anyway, it said, "Traffic in roundabout has right-of-way" . Only, by the time you see this sign, you're already in the roundabout, so??? Anyway, the first time through one friendly Delawarian tooted her horn and gave us a wave (three fingered) so I guess we did it wrong. As if one doesn't already have to have eyes on swivel brackets to look for pedestians, cyclists, pets, AND a roadsign to get where you're going, they put this in to simplify an intersection?

So to all the flatlanders out there, good luck with that. And thank god they'll never put one hereabouts. The folks in this town haven't even mastered 4-way stops yet.

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