An Open Letter To Buffalo About Roundabouts
Change is difficult for most people. Because people are creatures of habit, and when something interrupts your routines or habits, it's usually seen as a bad thing by most. And while your brain craves routine because it doesn't have to work as hard once a routine is set, it's not good for your brain health in the long run. This is just one of the reasons roundabouts are so annoying and/or difficult for some people.
It's something I have to remind myself about pretty much all the time. Especially when I come to a roundabout and not a single driver knows what they're doing. Like last week, for example. I came to the roundabout on Holtz Drive and Aero Drive over by the airport, and a woman clearly had no idea what she was doing. She turned into the left (oncoming) lane and gave me the bird as I sat there looking at her in disbelief and wonder. Now that I think about it, she probably knew how to use the roundabout and just didn't GAF. But I digress.
Roundabouts aren't that hard to use. Believe it or not, they keep traffic moving better than a four-way stop or traffic lights. Think about it; at an intersection with a four-way stop when it's busy, either no one knows whose turn it is, or again, people DGAF and go whenever they want. Unlike a traffic light, you don't have to wait for a green light or arrow to go. Don't believe me? Even Mythbusters did a segment on it, and it proved true...
The key to roundabouts is you have to use common sense, and maybe that's the problem. Common sense seems to be lacking these days. Especially on the roads. Here are a few pieces of common-sense advice to keep in mind when you're using or about to use a roundabout.
- How does a roundabout work? Yield to the left, go to the right.
- The keyword is yield. That's the best way to understand a roundabout. That means do not stop before entering an empty roundabout.
- Just like merging (yielding) onto a highway, you have to pay attention to other drivers and adjust your speed according to the flow.
- If there is a driver on your right waiting to enter, you're not doing anyone any favors or "being polite/helpful" by stopping and waiting for them to go first. At that point, you're stopping the flow of traffic.
- If there isn't a car to your left, you should enter the roundabout.
If you think about it logically, roundabouts pretty simple. If there isn't any traffic, you don't have to stop; you merge as you would anywhere else and yield to traffic. And when you get frustrated with people who can't seem to grasp the concept, whether it's a roundabout or driving in general, do what I do and remember what I said earlier; people are creatures of habit, and change is difficult. Then turn up the radio and blast 92.9 WBUF. I gotchu.
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