Round­about Eti­quette

The Progress-Index Weekend - - OPINION -

I re­mem­ber three or four years ago read­ing that there was go­ing to be a round­about in­stalled at the junc­tion of Cox Road and Fern­dale Road whose pur­pose was to ease the con­ges­tion caused by the traf­fic lights. I’ve driven in the United Kingdom and I’m used to us­ing multi-lane round­abouts but I was aware that most driv­ers from this part of Vir­ginia had prob­a­bly never used one.

Fast for­ward a few years and the round­about has now been in use for some time and I must ad­mit my ini­tial fears about its use have not been re­al­ized. I use the round­about daily and I have yet to see any ac­ci­dents or even any close en­coun­ters. On the whole the traf­fic moves freely and the lines of traf­fic go­ing back along Fern­dale have dis­ap­peared, even at peak pe­ri­ods.

With this in mind I have to say well done to the lo­cal au­thor­ity for in­stalling the round­about and well done to the driv­ers of the area for do­ing a good job us­ing it.

Now, hav­ing said that, I still have one mi­nor ob­ser­va­tion about its use. For some rea­son driv­ers are not us­ing their in­di­ca­tors when ap­proach­ing, on, and ex­it­ing the round­about. This can cause con­fu­sion to other driv­ers and there­fore in­creases the chances of ve­hi­cles com­ing to­gether.

Although I have no con­crete ev­i­dence to sup­port my sup­po­si­tion, I sus­pect the rea­son for this is that they have never been in­structed on how to ne­go­ti­ate a sin­gle lane round­about.

There are some good videos on line but if I may be so bold to of­fer ad­vice, a quick guide for in­di­ca­tor use in this in­stance is:

As you ap­proach the round­about if you are leav­ing at the first exit in­di­cate Right.

As you ap­proach the round­about if you are go­ing past the first exit in­di­cate Left.

Keep in­di­cat­ing Left un­til you ap­proach your in­tended exit then in­di­cate Right.

By do­ing this, ap­proach­ing driv­ers can see clearly that the ve­hi­cles on the round­about are ei­ther leav­ing be­fore their in­tended en­trance, or, go­ing round past them. The ap­proach­ing driv­ers can then ad­just their speed ac­cord­ingly and if nec­es­sary, stop. Do­ing this will re­sult in smoother flow­ing traf­fic, re­duce the risk of ac­ci­dents and hope­fully, much less stress.

R. Allen Din­wid­die County

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