Day 163 – About Roundabouts

One of the elements I encountered while driving in Australia is something I will lament the lack of back in Canada: roundabouts.  For those of you who have never encountered a roundabout in traffic, I will try and describe the majesty.

If you drive in the Americas, particularly in suburban neighborhoods with sparse traffic, you will inevitably be caught in the tiresome loop of cruising down a block, coming to a not-so-complete-stop, passing through an empty intersection.  Rinse.  Repeat. 

Originally, I thought there was no better way.   A roundabout has a circular island-curb in the centre of a four way intersection.  There are no stop signs.  Traffic flows in from 4 directions at a consistent speed, and each driver must yield to the car on their right, while having right-of-way over the person on their left.  In this way drivers can make right and left turns, or even U turns without ever stopping if there is no one to yield to.

So consider again the scenario of empty suburban driving with roundabouts instead of four-way stops.  You can cruise along without ever touching the break, intersection after intersection moving around the central curb straight forward, and perhaps you suddenly realize you missed your house!  Coming up to the next intersection, you just continue around the roundabout, meeting someone making a left turn going the other way,  he proceeds and you follow him around as you both make your traffic maneuvers at the exact same time.

Roundabouts rule, and I will miss them dearly.



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