Baldric-Man’s Traffic Circles for Dummies January 21, 2010Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man.
Tags: circle, confusion, dummies, law, mini circle, road, roundabout, traffic, traffic circles
Aaargh! I can’t take it any longer! After years of encounters of the traffic-circle kind, I may have finally snapped. I’m just so completely and utterly sick of having to approach and negotiate traffic circles, while trying to follow the *real* rules of the road, and somehow incorporate the idiotic, sheep-like current trends that seem to govern (just about) every other driver’s demented usage of “roundabouts” and “mini-circles”.
Today, on my way home, I had yet another run in with some twit, who managed to exhibit tendencies of nervousness, aggressiveness, and lack-of-foresighted-ness (forgive me, I’m ranting), all in the space of about 15 seconds. I won’t go into the details: you all probably know exactly what happened.
So please consider this a public service announcement. I am now going to lay down the very-uncomplicated rules of traffic circles in one easy page for my intelligent readers to distribute amongst their less fortunate friends.
Herewith, Baldric-Man’s Traffic Circles for Dummies
- Traffic Circles are NOT confusing. I promise. It’s a road. It’s round. You drive around it clockwise (that’s important). You don’t crash into anyone. (Also important)
- Traffic Circles are NOT 4-way stops. Official Legislation quite clearly states that a driver should slow when approaching (just like any intersection, actually), yet need not stop (unless necessary obviously, just like a standard Yield)
- Yield (wait) for vehicles in the circle, to your right (i.e. approaching). When you want to enter a circle, you need to wait for vehicles to your right, who are already in the circle, and who you will be obstructing if you join at that moment. Think about this: it’s just like any other time you turn on to a road, change lanes, etc: if, by doing so, you’re going to get in someone’s way, or cause an accident, you probably shouldn’t go just yet. (Mind-blowing, I know). If the other car has not entered the circle yet, you’re allowed to go (but be sensible: if they are *just* about to enter, and are travelling quite quickly, which they’re entitled to do, you should wait)
- Some people find it helpful to write a little “R” on their Right hand, to remind themselves of that tricksy little gem.
- When you want to leave a circle (which, presumably, you do) you Indicate Left as soon as you pass the exit *before* the exit you want to take. Now, that might sound confusing, but again, if you think about it, it’s exactly like any other time you turn off a road: You indicate as soon as you can, as long as your road or exit is the next one (with no others before it) Also: If you are taking the first exit of a circle, then you are supposed to indicate left before you even join the circle. Now, there is a modern trend of indicating Right when in the bigger, “proper” circles (actual “Roundabouts”), and you are intending on taking the 3rd (or later) exit, but personally I think its confusing, illogical, and generally daft (I’ll explain another time) – I may be wrong on this, but I’m about 99% sure that it isn’t a traffic law or requirement.
There are a lot of comments out there on the web about the confusing differences between full-blown Roundabouts, and the baby-brother Mini-Circles. Although there are some differences in the descriptions and wording, I can assure you, the fundamental basics of yielding, approach, and indication are all the same, and based in common sense. (Which is specifically why I have not made any distinction – because I don’t see any practical difference)
And if you find this still too confusing, Baldric-Man’s Quick Reference Summary of a Traffic Circle:
It’s *exactly* like any road, except it’s like a bit curvy and stuff. When you join a traffic circle, it’s like joining a normal road from another road with a Yield sign – a Yield sign just reminds you not to be an ass, and to wait for other cars who have right of way (i.e. they are already on that road, stupid). When you want to turn off the road, you indicate, and then turn off the road.
Ok, now for something more serious. Seeing as there is a chance you might think I’m missing something, or making stuff up, etc, here are a few links to sites you’ll hopefully regard as reliable. Otherwise, you will just have to take my word that the information above is taken from my experience in learning the K53 (many moons ago), in reading up the official legislation and guidelines, and perhaps most notably, in an online forum debate with a local Traffic officer about 3 years ago.
And finally, the official regulatory statement for the Roundabout sign is stated as follows:
The roundabout regulatory sign R137 imposes a mandatory requirement that drivers entering a roundabout shall turn to the left and shall travel round the roundabout in a clockwise direction, and it imposes a mandatory requirement that drivers entering a roundabout shall yield right-of-way to traffic approaching from the right, within the round-about, where such traffic is so close as to constitute a danger or potential danger.
That nugget can be found here: http://www.transport.gov.za/library/legislation/roadtraffic/Command_Signs_Detail.html#r137