> The UK has 25,000, and France has over 300,000 (though expressed as a proportion of roundabouts per intersection, they are not that far apart).
How can that be true? France surely doesn't have over ten times the number of intersections as the UK?
From Swindon's insane five circles in a circle to the insurance-clause-generating 12-lane monster around the Arc de Triomphe, the roundabout has been easing congestion helping local governments across Europe save their pennies for decades. However, it really seems to be grinding gears in northeastern Kentucky, where denizens …
It’s not much smaller than Texas - at 643,801 km² (France) vs 695,662 km² (Texas) and both are massive compared with little old England (130,279 km²).
And both have something that England doesn’t. Friends. Texas has the rest of the United States. France has the rest of the European Union. England isn’t even liked by the rest of the ‘United' Kingdom.
Yes that's right (not):
Now if you'd said Poland or Hungary, you may have had a point.
We like the power companies, it’s the moron management that thought it would be a good idea to turn off the power to the plants that produced the nat gas used in the plants that we don’t like. The lines froze and the gas stopped flowing. We also did not care for the idiots that figured we would not need wind gen when it was cold.
What a dumb comment. Some of the close friends of the UK, economically, politically and militarily include (wait for it):
France and Germany.
If you don't know how close the UK and France are as European neighbours and powers (which has nothing to do with the EU), then you really don't have a clue what you are talking about.
Yes, and when WA introduced one of the first suburban roundabouts (Yangebup?) most of the locals stopped at the white line and waited for somebody else to move. Sometimes the traffic was stationary on all four entrances and only moved when a driver who had the right-of way waved the next vehicle around the roundabout across...
In the Old Dart, I find that when this old fart is in a hire car with unfamiliar controls, the High Wycombe roundabout is "challenging" - Instead of signalling appropriately, the windscreen gets wiped,...
About 1992, I commuted several times a week through the suburbs for about 10 years, but the City of Perth certainly had roundabouts before that. Possibly the first ones were the on the Causeway crossing Heirisson Island in the 1950s, but I’m not sure that they count - They are/were teardrop shaped as the main bridge carriageways weren’t crossed by traffic. Anyway, they were only for the posh people who could take a vehicle into the City :-) These days the Island has traffic lights so people "know" when to move.
I now live in a retirement village, and a number of "rural" residents will take a 6 km diversion to avoid one a couple of kms away that has a minor road crossing a dual carriageway.
Drove the 3300km from Broome to Perth (via Karijini); 1 traffic light north of the Swan River. It was between Port Hedland and South Hedland. It was green.
WA country drivers are great. Everyone waves to everyone else. Slow down for a wave and a thumbs-up if you're stopped at the side of the road (survival is important like that). The B-triple beer truck that had tipped over on its side at Auski Roadhouse was such a display of a community at work; people had driven for miles to help that poor driver.
Oodles of roundabouts in Broome. Such a nice town. I suspect it is the town of >10000 people furthest away from any other town of at least the same size.
If you're not actually in Perth, WA's traffic controls are... minimalistic.
Yep, years ago I took a (holiday) trip with a company car from Perth to Derby via Carnarvon, Karratha, Hedland, and Broome with a few side trips (>8,000 km in total) with almost no traffic lights.
On the other hand, two weeks ago, I went on a shopping expedition with Mrs Tim99 from Mandurah to Osborne Park, via Melville on Highway 1 (~80 km) and would have gone through >50 sets of lights.
The population of WA is ~2.6 million, with >2.1 million living in Greater Perth.
Texas might be big but there are bits of France that are 12+ hour flights away from Paris (not Paris Texas...)
Reunion is a lovely place to go. I'd expect that 99.99% of Texans would not have a clue where Reunion is on a map of the world.
As for being liked... Texans aren't liked by many other US citizens. If you want a corrupt state (and there are many if not most states) then Texas is at the top with Florida close behind but catching up rapidly especially after they've passed laws basically allowing car driver to run down protesters and not be prosecuted. Governor De Santis would probably give you a medal if you did just that.
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Roundabouts only work well if people use the correct lane and signal correctly coming onto and exiting the roundabout.
In France you are allowed to stay in the outside lane for any exit. And you then have priority over the inside lane at all times. This coupled with no signalling makes roundabouts in France worthless.
I'm working my way through the German traffic regulations and I think 'surprised' is a word I could use to describe my feelings on discovering that there are two sorts of roundabouts: those which have the whirly sign, where traffic on the roundabout sensibly has right of way; and those which don't have the whirly sign and are not in fact roundabouts, merely road crossings with a hump in the middle. And on those, traffic on the joining roads is on the right of anyone going around, and therefore it has right of way.
This after sixty years in the UK, for the last twenty navigating Hemel Hempstead's magic roundabout (six orbiting mini roundabouts, with two way dual carriageway between them) on a regular basis.
Funny, I was just thinking of a town in France that was known for its roundabouts because right of way was different to roundabouts anywhere else in France - but not anywhere in Germany it now seems!
They sensibly ended this exception in 2002.
"Hemel Hempstead's magic roundabout"
I remember the first time I came across that. It was a little confusing, but I played it safe, being still a little inexperienced, and went the long way around, just treating it more or less as a big roundabout. That monstrosity at Swindon on the other hand, is enough to give the heebee geebies to even the most experienced driver on first coming across it!
Swindon's roundabout is no great shakes.
Massachusetts has been an innovator in traffic circles, or "rotaries" in the local argot, by US standards. Salem used to feature a large elliptical rotary with a parking lot in the center, so vehicles would be entering and exiting at both the periphery and the interior. East Longmeadow used to have a truly brilliant town center with five interconnected traffic circles in a glorious swooping maze of asphalt. Bell Circle on Route 1A in Boston's North Shore was (and may still be) a large rotary with a road cutting through it, controlled by traffic lights: it alternates between a traffic circle and a series of perpendicular intersections.
Kentucky, of course, is just barely past the horse-and-buggy stage. Wait'll they get their first diverging diamond.
(Diverging-diamond interchanges have become popular in Kansas, which, weirdly, is a leader in highway innovation in the US. Kansas had the first stretch of Interstate highway, for example. Presumably it's all designed so you can get through Kansas as quickly as possible, though to be honest if you're heading west on I-70 you'll just end up in eastern Colorado, which is worse. Imagine a vast expanse of nothing, then subtract.)
On the continent the general rule for traffic is vehicles coming from the right have right of way. This makes sense in terms of traffic safety because it means you generally have to approach a junction and expect to have to give way. It's less good for traffic flow but it does tend to mean that everyone has a chance, which is not always the case on a roundabout where there is a main road with traffice generally going straight on. Then there are the exceptions: Bundesstraßen (A roads) have priority but you're often unlikely to notice them in cities and this can lead to endless fun! In Brussels I was in a bus that was driven into in the side by a car and the bus driver was considered to be at fault: that the person driving the car obviously wasn't looking where she was going at the time (dealing with a small child) did not matter.
The reasoning behind roundabouts is fine but it failed to take the meatware into consideration and the accident rate starts to go up once the traffic density reaches a certain point (something like 20,000 vehicles an hour or day, but don't take my word for it). Unfortunately this took several expensive and tragic beta tests: in Manchester the junction of Princess Parkway and Barlow Moor Road was remodelled many times in the 1980s and 1990s as smashes on the old roundabout increased: ditto for the roundabout at the end of the Mancunian way; this is still a roundabout but it now has traffic lights and an underpass. I assume it's similar in other places.
"no signalling makes roundabouts in France worthless."
Turn signals serve a different purpose here in the U.S. They inform the driver(s) behind to hurry & speed up to get past before you can move in front of them. Either lane, doesn't matter. Also gives the local cop an opportunity to cite the signalling driver for "improper lane change" if he insists on completing his lane change in front of the on-coming speeders. (Anything less than 15-over is not speeding in practical US driving. It's considered obstructing traffic.)
It was a common sight from my truck mirror to see the cars behind "squat down" when the drivers jammed the accelerator pedal to the floor when I signaled for a lane change.
"Roundabouts only work well if people use the correct lane and signal correctly coming onto and exiting the roundabout."
Not really. Obviously driving competently helps, but the point of roundabouts isn't actually anything to do with rights of way. The important thing is that turning left* is always better than turning right, because it means you don't have to cross through oncoming traffic. This is actually a big deal for journey times, and is a big deal for logistics companies who often now design their routes to avoid right turns - even if it appears to make a route longer, it usually ends up saving time, as well as reducing accidents.
A roundabout simply lays the road out so it is only possible to make left turns. You turn left when you enter it, and you turn left again when you leave it, even if overall that results in you turning right from your original heading. Who has right of way at any given point and how competently people pick their lanes and indicate doesn't change that. People screw up at other junctions all the time as well, especially with Google telling them the wrong lane to use half the time. Obviously having everyone get it right can keep things flowing even better, but roundabouts still work for their primary purpose even if no-one using them knows what they're doing.
*Adjust direction to your local preference.
"roundabouts still work for their primary purpose even if no-one using them knows what they're doing"
This varies for different values of not knowing what they're doing.
As a young inexperienced driver I was "involved" in my second crash on the local roundabout. Yes they were both my fault. While filling out the accident report I asked the officer how many accidents per day they had there. "We have two a day reported to us." With more experience I have thankfully not been in any more roundabout accidents. So my anecdote of one is that knowing what you are doing does enter into the equation.
Yes, I know it well, from many years ago. I think roundabouts were seen as the panacea to all things congestion related when the "new towns" were being created. Washington is nearly as bad. (remember when Washington was all marked out as numbers, District x, y z instead of places having names? The numbers of people getting lost was just hilarious!)
They need good British roundabouts - two lanes marked on the road sign, three lanes on the road, four on the round-and-roundabout itself with lanes clearly marked to tell you where you should have been and traffic lights thrown in to prevent you getting to that lane! An annoying one in King's Lynn was easily negotiable once you learned to ignore the *all* the signs apart from trying to read those one set of lights ahead so you had time to get where you needed to be immeditately after that set of lights ... all before the inevitable red light stopped you moving anywhere and a juggerynut pea harvester blocked your view of anything...
Expert level is approaching a contra-rotating roundabout (in my case Hemel Hempstead when I used to live ther) and choosing which way to go around based on current traffic levels (generally anti-clockwise was a bit quicker as anyone unfamiliar with the junction would tend to default to clockwise).
First time I found the Swindon one, I was through it before I realised what it was. Clearly my brain is equally convoluted. I did the Hemel Hempstead one a few times, used to visit BSI Labs there, and never had a problem with that either.
In the US they spoil some roundabouts by putting STOP signs on the entrances, so you can't time your approach for the gap you can see coming.
Having lived in Swindon for a while I can concur that anti-clock is typically quicker. With less people going right at the mini roundabouts you generally have a clear run and then get priority turning right off the last mini roundabout, across the traffic orbiting clockwise.
No, Expert Level is the set of roundabouts at the bottom of the A34 in Burnage/Fallowfield/Levenshulme.
A series if interesting twists and turns over 2/2.5 roundabouts not easy to navigate coupled with a lot of foreign drivers not used to roundabouts makes it amazing fun.
I'm not sure where it was now, somewhere in NE England, there was a weird split 4 way junction. Split in that the road crossing the main road didn't line up on left and right. The answer? Two pained mini-roundabouts. But they were so close together that there was on a single lane between them. If you got two vehicles coming from opposite directions both turning to their right, there was no room for them leading to the inevitable shouting, horns blaring, bumps, scrapes and out right head-on collisions. I think they eventually painted the two roundabouts into one elongated blob-like shape.
At the bottom of a hill in Ironbridge, UK, there was/is an unusual roundabout sign. To take the first left exit it indicates you must go all the way round the roundabout first. If you try to turn left immediately you find the junction angle is very sharp. Going all round the roundabout first - lines you up with that first exit correctly.
No doubt many lorries have found themselves stranded across the side road - unable to complete their turn or reverse safely. Don't know what satnavs advise - hopefully not "take first left exit".
...and choosing which way to go around based on current traffic levels (generally anti-clockwise was a bit quicker as anyone unfamiliar with the junction would tend to default to clockwise).
I always thought there was something dubious about Hemel Hempstead & Swindon. Getting the locals to drive widdershins is obviously a way to power the town planner's dark rituals.
Both sound like Ironman mode for auto-pilots though. I wonder if this is a way to delay the onset of full self-driving?
I have seen a few tourists trying to negotiate the Hemel Hempstead Magic roundabout at various times, after twenty odd years living in foreign places, I would need to think a little before entering it.
I have never had a problem going from UK to Continental but have had to pause a couple of times on returning.
I like the old steam wagons and tractors that decorate a lot of Spanish roundabouts.
i don't mind roundabouts at least they can keep the traffic flowing. Nothing worse than sitting at a set of lights on red with no other cars in sight as is often the case at many sets of lights down here in sunny Plymouth. On my commute route there was a junction with a couple of mini roundabouts that you could quite quickly go through, then a few years ago they were replaced by a couple of sets of lights, now you sit there on a red light with bugger all cars or pedestrians in sight. And now of course there are traffic light controlled roundabouts, which sometimes work but other times you land up going around the roundabout only to meet a queue on the roundabout that are stopped on a red light half way around.
"now you sit there on a red light with bugger all cars or pedestrians in sight"
Our traffic signals are equipped with in-pavement vehicle detector inductive loops. They work well during low traffic times to switch the lights. Unless you get stuck behind a Honda. Which evidently don't have enough metal in them to trigger the sensor. Then you could wait all night.
some lights are like that here but not all I expect down to the extra cost. I used to work for a shared service centre who looks after Plymouth city councils infrastructure. The server running ALL the traffic lights in the city was a single w2k8r2 box VM (upgraded now I think to at least w2k12r2!). It was one of those boxes that you really avoided having to touch, and if it shit itself it was a P1 with knobs on!!!!
"system for running down pedestrians?"
Funny you should mention that. One of our local towns have the pickup loops installed. You can see the pavement cuts where they install the wire loops and then seal them with tar. But then the crosswalk (zebra) is painted over the top of the loop. Or the loop was installed where the crossing was to go. Those 'in the know' understand that one must stop their vehicle on top of the loop. Or the signal will not change. But this means stopping right in the middle of the pedestrian crossing, understandably upsetting the pedestrians.
Our traffic signals are equipped with in-pavement vehicle detector inductive loops. They work well during low traffic times to switch the lights. Unless you get stuck behind a Honda. Which evidently don't have enough metal in them to trigger the sensor. Then you could wait all night.
When I lived in Cambridge there were some traffic lights like that that weren't triggered by my bike, so I'd have to wait in the middle of the road until a car joined me...
Regarding bikes and detector loops: unless your bike really does have virtually no metal in it (you rich carbon-fibre show-off, you!), dismounting and tilting your bike until it is near horizontal with the ground, for a second or two, is usually enough for the loop to detect you. I agree it's still rubbish, and motion detectors on the traffic lights would be better, but at least it gets the job done.
"Here in the NE* we have a penchant for roundabouts with lights that always operate. 5am on a Sunday? Yep, you can be stuck at two sets on a single roundabout."
That's one of the few things the US seem to have done right. During quiet periods, traffic lights flash amber, meaning proceed with caution.
One of the few things we get right here in the UK is the use of "part time" traffic lights on certain roundabouts. They only operate during rush hour, outside those times they switch off and it's back to normal roundabout rules. It's be nice if that, or the flashing amber for "normal" light controlled junctions, could be introduced here (although I'm not sure how since we already have flasjing amber on Pelican(??) crossings with a subtly different meaning.
Sounds like you got the same special traffic lights we got up here ! Specially designed to show a green light to empty roads, but turn red when a car approaches.
Except for certain junctions where they put a mini roundabout because traffic lights would work too well. Being tiny, and busy, it can be hard spotting a gap in all the permutations of incoming traffic that you could be pulling out in front of - and when you spot one, you then find the car you've just slotted in behind has been blocked from exiting and the car you though you had a decent gap in front of starts blowing it's horn at you.
"but turn red when a car approaches"
Pedestrian safety. Or so our engineers claim. If you can stop a car at the crosswalk when a crossing signal has been requested and then activate the signal its safer than just lighting up the signal at an empty intersection. And then having a car blow through the red light at full speed. Cars are more likely to stop for another car.
"i don't mind roundabouts at least they can keep the traffic flowing."
Depends on the traffic flows. If you put a roundabout in and the predominant flow is straight over, the traffic coming from the sides can't get on when it's busy. A well flowing roundabout, especially during busy periods, relies on reasonable numbers of vehicles wanting to go right to break up the "straight over" flow. It also requires drivers to indicate properly thus giving joiners a chance to get on when they see a leaver coming around and turning off at "their" entry point. And drivers who know how to watch for said exiter instead of just watching the traffic from the right!!!
Why, yes, funny you should ask, it IS one of my bug bears. :-)
"It also requires drivers to indicate properly"
You're kidding, aren't you. You always indicate the opposite of what you'll actually do, to create as much mayhem as possible without risking prison time.
It's the first lesson new drivers learn: Never ever trust other drivers, they are either barely conscious or simply malevolent.
Not to mention, we know that roundabouts exist in Europe, so therefore roundabouts = comminism.
My daily drive take me through an intersection that was controlled by stoplights until about three years ago. We're finally to the point where it's rare for little old ladies to stop in the roundabout and waive in an incoming car.
In my opinion, roundabouts are helping here in Macomb County, Michigan (north of Detroit, of all places).
The first major one (2-3 lanes, no lights) can be a bit of a mess when certain directions back up, but a particular couple (only yards apart, both 2 lanes) have been a HUGE improvement over the former light-induced gridlock. Most others are small single-lane affairs replacing stop signs that work but they don't experience as much traffic.
The County is planning more and I'm glad for it.
I've commuted, I've driven the family around (school, church, errands), and I've even done gig driving (GrubHub). Anything that reduces crashes and delays while increasing general throughput is fine with me.
Now, if you want to talk about the effectiveness of the "Michigan Left", be ready for a flame war -- many on both sides feel strongly. I've been here 16 of my 41 years and am mixed about it, especially since the devil is in the details about the turnaround distance from main intersection, turnaround width (some are way too narrow), light timings, etc.
(Either you're joking, and I'm about to ruin it, or you're hinting at the reality which I'm about to detail...)
That's next door, over in Oakland County, so yeah I've heard about them and know the concept.
1. Michigan Dept. of Trans. (DOT) used that in Auburn Hills at Interstate 75 (I-75) & University Drive, north of Fiat Chrysler HQ, leading to Oakland University. I haven't driven through that yet, and even if my kids eventually go to OU I'll just use M-59 to get there from Macomb.
2. Another is under construction a-ways south of there, in Troy, at I-75 and Big Beaver Road. I have been through that area quite a few times, but only to go to a certain mall for a certain restaurant that recently opened a standalone location down the road only 3 miles from home. So again I will likely never have reason to traverse that future Div-D.
Michigan may have more but that's all I know of for sure. If #1 didn't work okay, they certainly wouldn't build #2, which has more lanes.
(Roundabouts and Div-D in Michigan are possible. Making Ohio stop the endless construction on I-75 is not. Go ahead and try. Better luck getting them to give back Toledo.)
“ Better luck getting them to give back Toledo”
But would you want it if they offered?
There’s a DDI near me in Naperville IL and it works great, not at all difficult to use and has greatly improved traffic flow.
Coincidentally, I am an Oakland University alum, and my father was a design engineer for MDOT (40 years ago).
As I grew up (a bit) in Hemel Hempstead, I clearly remember that WE, along with Swindon, had the first 'magic' roundabouts, where there were mini roundabouts around a central larger one. It caused no end of confusion the first Monday it was open, but eventually worked quite well. I don't know why Swindon gets all the credit / enmity for it. (Hemel Hempstead was also the birthplace of Anne Boleyn and was granted a licence to hold markets in honour of her when she married Henry.)
As for the video, it clearly shows people driving on both the left and the right sides of the road, presumably in contravention of USA road regulations, so the Americans will need all the help they can get. I understand that Japan does not go in much for roundabouts either. They only have about 80 (https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200106/p2a/00m/0na/009000c ), so when Japanese drivers encounter one in the UK or Europe it can be quite a shock for them.
I was once talking to an Indian chap, who had passed his test there but who was now needing to pass in the UK.
I asked him how the test was compared to lessons over here.
He said he drove to the test centre. The examiner came out and checked his name, then asked how he'd got there. He told him he'd driven there. The examiner replied "well, you can obviously drive" and passed him on the spot.
And an Indian woman in the same position told me she had to drive in a straight line for about 300 metres, and was awarded a licence.
Contrastingly, a young Pakistani chap told me he had a full Pakistani licence. When I asked him how he got it, he told me he'd gone home a few weeks earlier and bought it.
I was warned that they were a lot more fussy about speed limits (this was before the UK had its outbreak of speed cameras) and that stop signs meant stop (well, <5mph IIRC) even if there was obviously no other traffic or pedestrians. And some other quirks involving cyclists and the one-car-at-a-time filter lights. But most of all to not get out the car if the coppers pull you over.
"As for the video, it clearly shows people driving on both the left and the right sides of the road, presumably in contravention of USA road regulations,"
It is marked "how NOT..." and it was produced by the construction company. It even looks like it's not finished yet. Markings and road signs don't seem to be in place yet.
LOL - KY is just now getting their first?
The NYT article about the first one there shows one in my town. I have personally honked at idiots who stopped in the middle of it to let incoming traffic merge.
It's a huge improvement anyway. That intersection used to be an all way stop, and traffic would sometimes back up for almost a mile during rush hour.
Watch the animated film 'Inside Out' for an amusingly accurate depiction (very near the end) of a boy's mental state when confronted by a 'girl'*.
*For those el Reg readers of a nervous disposition, and perhaps sheltered** upbringing, a 'girl' is the female of the Homo sapiens species. They prefer boys who wash all over EVERY DAY and clean their teeth properly (e.g. see the Dr Who episode:
The Doctor: "You like him, don't you?"
Rose: "He saved my life. For a man that's right up there with flossing***.")
**There is a world outside your bedroom where you keep all the electronics stuff, you might like to try it some time, it can be quite nice.
***Flossing is the act of using interdental tape to clean between the teeth. It is NOT a dance on TikTok****.
****TikTok is a popular application ... Warning - FOOTNOTE OVERFLOW -
It beats a Detroit U-ey (or Michigan Left as they seem to prefer).
No turning left at a cross roads, just turn right (on Red is OK if there's nothing coming), get into the fast lane, do a U-Turn into the opposing fast lane and then go straight on at the junction (or straight on, U-Turn, turn right depending on the layout).
It took us Brits a while to get used to that one when I lived over there!
There are also crossroads in London marked No Right Turn, but those who are keeping an eye on the signs will see a left/right/right sign at the junction before so where the No Right Turn is, you already took the earlier Left then went right-right and go straight over to the right turn you wanted. Clear?
Scared the sh*t out me the first time saw it happen, where you go to the left lane to turn right at junctions, from Victoria Road rules
Hook turns are required when turning right at some intersections in Melbourne which have tram lines running along them. Their purpose is to improve traffic flow by removing turning traffic from the right lane where there is no space for a dedicated turning lane. For areas where trams share the right lane of the road, the use of hook turns also ensures trams going straight ahead are not held up by right turning vehicles.
Having lived in the UK and Ireland for several years, the absence of roundabouts on this side of the moat bothered me. Our stalwart, the four-way STOP, is cheap and cheerful, to be sure, but doesn't cope well in areas with growing traffic due to development. Fortunately for me, we're catching up, at least in my immediate area. Take a look at this one, under construction — a roundabout for Round Rock with a flyover and rail tracks.
The problem isn't the 4way stop - it's the alternate 2way stops.
So at every junction one set of roads is a stop but the other might be (4way) or not (2way) so you are never entirely sure if the other car is going to stop - unless you can see the back of an octagonal sign on their lane.
That's multiplied by the probability that the other car will stop even if they have a stop sign of course.
Do not mix well. Especially Johnny Reb Yankees, as found in Kentucky and, yes, here in Deepest South Florida. There are several roundabouts near me; each of them has skid marks and usually small amounts of broken glass and/or assorted car bits (side mirrors, whole or parts, random metal pieces, other stuff) because the locals simply have no idea of how to use them. The population of Cuban Cowboys and their sisters, Las Latinas Brava, here in Deepest South Florida who also don’t know how to deal with roundabouts but don’t care tends to make things even more interesting. They tend to care only about speed. One of Las Latinas Brava just managed to be clocked at 111 mph (not kph…) just before crashing into a pickup, totaling it, rolling her car, and killing one and injuring three… while being on probation after serving four of five years for vehicular homicide caused by speeding. Speed and roundabouts are an interesting combination. One of my nieces says that the Cuban Cowboys can drive sideways… just not at roundabouts.
Certain Caribbean ‘tourist’ destinations (Barbados and Jamaica, I’m looking at _you_) have roundabouts at the main entrance/exit to the big tourist airport (Grantly Adams in Barbados, Sangster in Jamaica; Norman Manley in Jamaica put the roundabouts at an extended distance. Grantly Adams has extra value thanks to all the roundabouts on the ABC Highway going into Bridgetown.) I call them tourist killers. It’s not helped by the fact that you’re supposed to drive on the correct side of the road in Barbados and Jamaica. Rent a car companies tend to have to repair a lot of vehicles.
The thing you have to remember is that each type of junction has it's uses. Traffic lights work well in some places, roundabouts in others. Horses for courses. Ther advantage of rounderbouts is that no electricity or computers required. unlike traffic lights which 1) sometimes do not work, and 2) can be red for you when there is no other traffic. (when will i ever see inteligent traffic lights that can read the cars on the road?)
There was a burst of minor accidents when Cheyenne Wyoming changed a major (for a town of 70k) 5-way intersection to a roundabout.
Because these were minor accidents it didn't matter that there was a nearby hospital -- it had been important before before the change.
> Especially Johnny Reb Yankees, as found in Kentucky [ ... ]
KY is not, and has never been, a Yankee state.
Originally, Yankee referred to people from New England - ME, NH, MA, VT, CT, RI.
During the Western Expansion the word evolved to describe any settlement by people of English Protestant origin - a Yankee settlement - as opposed to people of German Protestant origin - a German settlement. This meaning is prevalent in the Midwest.
During the Civil War the term evolved again to loosely define anyone from the Northern US fighting for the Union side of the conflict. Today, Southerners still refer to Americans from the Northern States as Yankees.[*]
At the start of the Civil War, KY declared itself neutral, but ended up under Union control after some confederate general tried to engineer a coup to bring KY to the CSA. KY then asked the Union for help, and stayed under Union control for the duration of the Civil War.
Today, Yankee loosely refers to anyone from the Northeast Coast of the US. The precise meaning of the word varies by region.
[*] They also refer to the Civil War as The War Of Northern Aggression. Go figure. If you visit a Southern State, it's best to stay clear of the Civil War topic altogether.
"The War Of Northern Aggression" should the called "The War Of Southern Stupidity" as one prominent Louisiana educator pointed out before the war. The prominent educator, first president of Louisiana State University, was a certain William T. Sherman whose boys were very liberal with matches in Georgia, South Carolina (very, very liberal), and North Carolina.
On behalf of HMG may I apologise.
It's normal policy when
abandoning a colony granting independence, to split it into two states, preferably on religous or ethnic lines. This then allows the two halves to wage war on each other and leave the rest of the world in peace.
Due to an administrative oversite and a lack of French cooperation, the USA was forced to implement this plan informally themselves - and naturally made a mess of it.
"During the Civil War the term evolved again to loosely define anyone from the Northern US fighting for the Union side of the conflict. Today, Southerners still refer to Americans from the Northern States as Yankees.[*]"
And when you look at a map of which States were Confederate and Union, even using the terms "northern" and "southern" becomes a bit of a misnomer when labelling the sides.
There is a roundabout here that keeps getting repeatedly destroyed by people not paying attention; Unlike the Kentucky one, it has a raised brick center that people keep driving into. They have added some extra (rope?) lights to it, but not sure even that will help.
I was absolutely shocked to see the locals driving on the left, the right, and wherever. This is a place that needs a sign, "STAY THE F*** RIGHT". There are roundabouts in the greater Seattle area, and I have never seen driving like that in the video. Sure, I have seen people driving over the circle, but never hanging a left like that.
Really, the cops should get out there and hand out tickets for idiots driving on the wrong side of the road. Or just use it as a driving test: if you can't figure out a roundabout, you lose your license for life. Move to another state and try again.
> pointless roundabouts that only serve to underline how much you hate the talk navigator chiming in...
Can't say I've ever experienced that. Oh but I've never used sat nav, having learned to read at an early age - did you know they put signs on roads that tell you where they go? Amazing, what will they think of next?
The RAC used to to do them, we used one for years when my Dad was driving to Brandon, Suffolk to visit family.
While scenic & handy for visiting Avebury (Shortly after the transmission of Children of the Stones*), the route adapted as over the years it got increasingly inaccurate & better alternative routes found (The M5/M4 also helped).
I seem to recall Father specifically asked for it to avoid London, although A30, A303 - London Circulars & A11 strikes me as being a much more direct route than faffing about in Wiltshire (Scaring the crap out of him with the Magic Roundabout), Oxfordshire & Bedford.
Years later I also got a lot of driving experience on the "route" (One year three weddings) while on L plates as he really didn't enjoy driving out of his comfort zone.
*I did wonder if we were going to be able to leave the place or be joining The Happy Ones.
"... they put signs on roads that tell you where they go ..."
Signs around here have evolved differently:
Assuming you have managed to spot a sign inside the roadside foliage, and that nobody has used it as a canvas for their "artwork", you will now find you are heading to somewhere you have never heard of (e.g. Little Hissingdown), rather than the major metropolis you desired.
Other signs are placed on approaches to junctions to tell you that you should have changed lanes some time ago, and it's now far too late to do anything about it.
Painted signs on the roadway exist only to confirm you are in the wrong lane - as soon as the traffic starts moving and reveals them.
At least the UK has one agency planning the stuff.
Here the motorways are federal, so there are no signs to the motorway on the surface streets because that's not their jurisdiction. The motorway numbers 'junctions' but in the city a junction can be every block, junction numbers get skipped so J32 can be immediately after J20 or you can have J20a,b,c,d,e because some suburb was built.
The local signs are the city responsibility, but the city can change every few miles, the same road can change name. There is no standard road numbering outside motorways.
Then in the city there is the same road east/west or north/south with the same building numbers.
"Other signs are placed on approaches to junctions to tell you that you should have changed lanes some time ago, and it's now far too late to do anything about it."
York outer ring road on the northern side used to be like that. They widened the road so there was two lanes approaching the roundabout. It was pot luck whether the left lane was left only of left/straight on and/or the right lane might be right only or right/straight on. Only the left OR the right would allow straight on but the signage was well down the two lane stretch and if you didn't already know then you could be stuffed during rush hour when buses and lorries blocked the view of the sign in the distance. It took a few years, but they did eventually put signs up at the point the single lane split into two.
Pet peeve - traffic management signs on motorways - e.g. A123 closed at J92. Where the F is that - I might know the A123 and J92 if I live on it but as a passing driver no chance. If they said A123 closed at THE NEAREST TOWN TO THE CLOSURE it may actually help.
Other than that, signs are a good way to go.
I'm the exact opposite. Road junctions on the motorway all have little numbers on, and when I read "Delays at J32 - Lower Slaughter" as I am passing J9, I know it's a while away. "Roadworks between Utterly St. Michael and Shitterton" is useless for that.
I've been driving the A14 for decades, including 12 years' commuting on the section from Haughley to Cambridge, but even now I only have the vaguest recollection of the junction number I used to exit onto the Science Park every day. However I would know instantly where Milton, Newmarket Road, actual Newmarket, Huntingdon, Kettering, Rugby, Ipswich, Felixstowe and probably most of the other junctions are.
When I see one of those announcements, I find myself actively looking at the junction numbers for a change so I can work out roughly how far it may be. Once out of the car, of course, I forget all that information, but that's OK, it's not something I'm likely to need again until next time.
The trouble with denoting junctions by nearest town is that it's ambiguous. What if there are three towns near the junction, which one do you personally know it by? Or if there are multiple junctions near $TOWN, which one is it talking about?
In my experience, radio announcements advising that there is a traffic holdup on the "M5" just after junction 28, decide to make their presence known just as you pass junction 28.
Icon - Because when helplessly stuck in a traffic jam (Or passing a services), one of the kids (Or wife) will spontaneously decide that now is the time to express their urgent need for a piss.
Last week, on the first day after lockdown was lifted, I was out on business. And I got stuck in a stinking traffic jam in the middle of the day because of roadworks which had closed off a right turn towards the motorway.
The laughable part was that they had left up the 'advanced warning' signs telling you it was going to be closed from whichever date (now in the past) - thus helpfully allowing you to avoid it through forward planning.
But the question that immediately occurred to me was 'how the f--- would I have seen that in the middle of the lockdown?'
A1(M) closed after A167.
Not helpful when the A167 has FOUR junctions with the A1 about 20 miles apart (Newton Aycliffe, Chester-le-Street, Gateshead (The Angel) and Newcastle)
Admittedly, it could only really be one of the first two, since by Gateshead and Newcastle, it's just the A1, not the A1(M). (For those who don't know, much of the A167 used to be called the A1 many years ago, winding through all the towns and villages of the North East, including crossing the Tyne bridge right through the city centre, hence the multiple junctions with the "new" A1.)
Further to that, where I am in Kent there are many smaller lanes that work as short cuts and alternative routes, but around March/April there is a rash of road resurfacing (presumably something to do with budget needing to be used or newly available).
So they put up a sign saying 'ROAD CLOSED AHEAD'. But that could mean:
'The road you are on is closed just around the corner',
'The road that turns off this road that you were not planning on using is closed',
'This road is closed about five miles past the last alternative route you could have taken'
'The road was closed yesterday but we forgot to remove this sign'
Clearly, you've never driven in Boston. Not only do they not have signs that tell you where roads go, they have street signs that somehow never reveal the name of any street that you'd be likely to use. My understanding is that they feel that if you don't know where you are and where you are going, you don't belong there.
My 2nd ever experience of driving in the US was after getting off a plane in Boston, late at night, in a thunderstorm and having to drive up the interstate, on my own, to a hotel in the middle of no-where. And coincidentally, that was where I found a useful sign in Boston - no-where!
I just took a bearing (based on the orientation of the airport buildings and my ability to tell north) and went. Luckily, I had some written instructions for finding the hotel, once I had got off the Interstate at the correct junction. (I got off wrongly once in the sticks and had to do miles to get back on again,) (Pre satnav on mobiles days!)
I had no idea when I rocked up to work in the UK that morning (after an exhausting weekend underground) that I would be leaving for a plane in under 2 hours, and getting to bed at 04:00 UK time in another country that night. I was definitely office based; that was one of only two trips for work in 18 years at that place. Luckily my ESTA was just in date from the first time I had been to the US, for a family holiday.
Roads were labeled by route numbers - exclusively. No destinations, sometimes not even a direction ...
On top of which, even in following decades, there are places on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River opposite NYC where so many numbered routes merge into a single stretch of expressway that there isn't room on the signs for all the route numbers. Thus you end up with the GPS telling you to take route N in 200 feet and you have no information whatsoever as to whether N is the right fork or the left fork. This is not especially fun.
Business trip to Boston, years back. This was before GPS units were common, so I had a paper map and needed to navigate using my brain. I left the airport and stopped somewhere for food. After eating, I knew I needed to head north on (I think) either I93 or I95. I came across a big sign showing two options. Option 1: N on I93/S on I95.
Option 2: S on I93/N on I95.
I figured either i couldn't go wrong, or I couldn't choose right. I got to my hotel, so...
(I could be wrong about the exact pairing of Interstatesl
Clearly, you've never driven in Boston.
Or been a pedestrian in Venice (not a lot of drivers around those streets.)
No street-signs of any sort; if you're lucky, you'll happen upon a location where some helpful soul has chalked "PIAZZA SAN MARCO --->" on the corner of a building. Cos all navigation directions are referenced from St Mark's - so if you can get back there...
Dark, narrow, medieval streets, very little street-lighting, canals everywhere waiting for the unwary to stumble into them... it's a lovely city but trying to find my way back one evening after dark was some serious Don't Look Now shit.
Icon - that's my coat. No, not that red cloak.
So you had great expectations of the denizens of rural Kentucky grasping the concept of how a roundabout is navigated? Just because they can (sort of) drive a vehicle, doesn't mean they can read signs and understand internationally accepted icons for traffic control.
No, traffic lights on roundabouts indicate that the roundabout should never have been put there, but those responsible can't lose face by ripping it out and making it a normal traffic light controlled junction again, so they make it both which is far worse than either.
Well ok, somebody who's never seen a roundabout might not know how to use it, having ignored that section of their equivalent of the highway code because there wasn't one in five hundred miles of anywhere they were expecting to drive. Fair enough.
Surely for the cost of a safety campaign which will inevitably miss the people you need to reach you could just liberally cover the roundabout with one way signs pointing the right way? And if the locals are confused by the "give way to vehicles already on the roundabout" thing then post half a dozen signs saying that on the approaches just to be sure.
When roundabouts started appearing everywhere in CO, I researched them. What I learned:
1. The only documented benefit they offer is that they slow down traffic
2. Incredibly dangerous for bicyclists
#1 I assume is the great appeal. I won't disagree that most other drivers slow down considerably when entering a roundabout. ("Wheeee!" *squeal*)
However, here in "bike friendly" Fort Collins I don't understand why this trumps the problems of #2...
Not so sure about slowing things down, but one in my home town had a nice tendency. It was slightly sloped to let water flow out from the center outwards.
In the summer, oil and other liquids from vehicles spilled from the engines or the nearby car wash residue would spin of them and deposit and stick to the road during dry spells.
Which made it a lot of fun to drive around on it after a fresh downpour a couple of weeks after. Lots of bicycles and scooters and motorbikes would spin out and crash on on it.
I'm in MN, and in my small city they replaced two very busy intersections from 4 way stoplights to two lane roundabouts. I love them.
Before, you could sit at the stop lights a loooong time, and traffic would inevitably back up making the stoplights worse. With the roundabouts traffic flows very nicely.
Both of those are 'alternative facts'. Roundabouts are by far the most efficient intersections apart from grade-separated ones with bridges etc. They aren't any worse for cyclists than other intersections with the same throughput. (As a cyclist, I'd get off and walk through some major roundabouts - but the same goes for regular intersections too, because they're no safer if they're as big and complicated.)
"As a cyclist, I'd get off and walk through some major roundabouts"
In roundabouts in New England, there is nowhere to walk, nor any place to get off, in most cases not even any alternative route. I'll grant you they are not any worse than other intersections, in the sense that all intersections should be rated 100% unsafe.
"there is nowhere to walk, nor any place to get off"
What do pedestrians do? If there's nowhere for a pedestrian to walk in reasonable safety, I'd generally consider that somewhere I wouldn't want to ride a bike. I understand large parts of the US are like that; where that is the case, you have much bigger problems than roundabouts :)
I spent a couple of weeks in France in '78. At that time the rule was you had to yield to people entering the roundabout. Come 5pm, every city in France was filled with pretty star-shaped traffic jams courtesy of this witless law. Traffic helicopter footage was eagerly lapped up by the news program audiences.
Changed now to doing it the sensible way.
...this just popped up in my feed yesterday.
Two idiots with a 10' tall U-Haul truck in an ~8' high underground parking garage, wondering why it won't go forward/backward/turn. As you watch, it gets worse and worse. I'm laughing, but tempered with a certain "these chucklefucks are allowed to drive on public roads, and they're not the only ones out there" dread...
The consensus on t'Reddit seems to be that it was just dirt being washed off the top of the truck, which is literally the most boring explanation possible.
What amused me was the way the driver reversed, the truck hit the overhead roof beam, and his passenger got out and looked everywhere except up.. "nope, there's no curb behind you, we must have imagined that loud crash and the truck almost coming off its frame, try again... repeatedly..."
...on one of the Classic car forums, there was a post from an owner in Florida.
Not far from his house they'd built a new mall. While working out how to connect the mall slip road to the highway adjacent, one of the local road planners had a lightbulb moment and decided to try out this "Roundabout" thing he'd seen on his travels in Yurop.
Cue the installation of the only roundabout within an extraordinarily large number of miles, thus ensuring that nobody approaching it for the first time had ever seen one before.
Fortuitously, the landscaping process had provided a tree-shaded grassed area adjacent to this new-fangled road menace, handily equipped with a bench to sit on.
His favourite pastime was to wander down there with a sixpack of beer, to sit and watch the accidents.
... that I've come across was between Thailand and Laos. Since in Thailand they drive on the correct side of the road and in Laos they're heathens that drive on the right, both sets of traffic enter the roundabout from different lanes, and proceed to go in what ever direction they feel like in order to try and get to the other side and on to the legal side for the destination country. Needless to say that was something of an experience. Not necessarily one i am interested in repeating... (Both Laos and Thailand are awesome but im not sure i want to be crossing that border by car again!)
Just wait until you get one of these: The Hanger Lane Gyratory System.
"The Hanger Lane gyratory is a multi-lane rectangular gyratory – having the Hanger Lane underpass, under its southern limb, for the Western Avenue (A40). It enables intersection with the North Circular (A406) and the inceptive Ealing Road towards Wembley. It is in the north of the borough of Ealing in west London.
An above-ground section of the London Underground* Central line passes under the structure which takes the form of a rounded-corner rectangular roundabout.
The junction became a gyratory in the early 1980s when the western side of the loop was built. In December 2007 it was named Britain's scariest junction."
Pictures at: https://www.google.com/search?safe=strict&rls=en&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=Hanger+Lane+gyratory+system&client=safari&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjO_6jnp5_wAhXOUBUIHQ_hCwgQjJkEegQIBxAB&biw=1807&bih=987
*Yes, some of London's Underground railways are actually above ground, it was cheaper, I guess.
There's an old joke about someone missing their exit at Hangar Lane and reversing. Obviously a crash ensues. The two parties sit in their cars, waiting for the police. Police turn up and talk to the driver in the rear car first. Then they tell the driver in the first car 'it's OK, you can go, the other guy's clearly drunk, he thinks you were reversing round the Hangar Lane Gyratory System'...
TBH, I've never found it notably complex.
Man... as a US'ian, I can say that video is some real hillbilly shit. (I've been to Kentucky, and this doesn't really represent it, generally people there are fine. But man, roundabouts are not that difficult.)
One problem I've seen with the roundabouts in the US though -- there's zero standard for signage, or even a suggestion of what the signage should be, or how they should be set up (...edit: or there is and cities just aren't following it and doing their own things.). The one in the video, that's pretty bad but there appears to be no signage whatsoever. A little sign with a circle and arrows point around it counterclockwise will tell most people what it is, and at least keep them from driving around it backwards. But I've seen one with that, several without it, and several where they decided to get cute and overcomplicated, and have like 3 lanes going in and one going out as you go around the circle or whatever; one of these, the sign is incorrect and shows two lanes going around when actually the right lane splits off with an island, onto a road that has nowhere to turn around (I went about 5 miles and finally did a 3-point turn on the highway, to narrow to do a u-turn; I must admit the 2nd time I got to this roundabout and made the same mistake of trusting the sign, I said "the hell with it" and hopped over the island.) I saw one in Kansas with excellent signage making it very clear what street or highway each exit off the roundabout was, but a freakin' stop sign, making it 100% useless compared to just having a 4-way stop and standard highway signage.
Kansas City has some kind of, I'll call it a "virtual highway" going through, something like a dozen highways combined in these couple stretches of road. (Those couple miles of road were in about the shape you'd expect from having a road having like a dozen times the traffic with 1 times the maintenance.). To stay on the one I wanted to stay on, I ended up taking something like Exit 1B, then multiple multi-lanes split off that offramp (that I didn't take) until something like exit 1Y, which also split off exits, had to gun it left across like 3 lanes of traffic to get to something like exit 1AC (I saw signs for up to 1AF.) Yep, 32 exits in one mile. The signage was good but there sure were a lot of them 8-).
When I was learning to drive, my instructor repeatedly took me to a roundabout on the junction of the A63/A64 at Killingbeck in Leeds. It had very high traffic flow, 6 (I think, memory hazy) junctions and one of the roads narrowed down to one lane as it went under a railway bridge immediately after exiting the roundabout. Not quite as bonkers as the Swindon magic roundabout, but still fairly terrifying to a learner. It was eventually replaced by traffic lights due to the number of crashes. When I asked the instructor why we kept coming to it, he told me that once I could confidently navigate this one, every other roundabout would be easy.
There are very few roundabouts in Japan. The few that are there are quite recent.
Any visitor driving in Japan knows that there is a traffic light approx. every 100m. They are not synchronised and don't have detectors. Traffic lights DO however provide bribes for local councils, roundabouts do not.
My Japanese wife says that Japanese are not smart enough to work out what to do at a roundabout - they are used to being told what to do for most things.
America will struggle because of "freedumb"; unfortunately the death toll, whilst contributing to species improvement, will not be sufficient to solve the larger problem.
Besides having dutch courage, dutch parties, there are also dutch inventions, and if I am correct, this is one of them. ... And since we are all on drugs over here (me being the saintly exception), I can see where the confusion comes from. ... Of course I am not suggesting they should all get potted over there, ab-so-lu-te-ly not.
Roundabouts are dumb. It makes a game of chicken out of an intersection. Our state is bought into the group think and has been installing them. No one likes them and for vehicles with trailers or for delivery they are a nuisance. It might be OK for europe where everything is cramped into small areas but the US is not built that way and these are not helping.
Hemel Hempstead was the first to have roundabouts on roundabouts and I taught my wife to drive there. When my daughter was born they opened at the same time about a few yards away the same at High Wycombe. My wife took her test there a few weeks later and the examiner was about to stop my wife going the "wrong way around" but realised she was right and he was wrong. She was the first that had gone the wrong way around some 40 years ago. The traffic has not eased and the problem of traffic has not gone away, but the worst type of roundabout is the split one where traffic has 2 small ones linked, really dangerous and France Loves 'em. The French help, most cars are not fitted with Clignotes, or indicators to you and me, and the driving examiners say "watch where there front wheels are aiming!" You have to realise France is the worst country in Europe for accidents, the following distance for most countries, is 2 seconds or 2dont be a fool use the 2 second rule2 in france it is "Fxxk it" so a roundabout does not help. On most you give way to traffic already using the roundabout, not France, some are not standard, helps improve the accident numbers, then there are lanes, trucks have to go around the outside so if a truck comes on behind you and is going to the final exit and you are going to take the exit opposite even though you cannot see the truck nor if it is indicating, you have to give way to it!!!! Result, you belt around the outside lane making sure you are indicating correctly and cars in front have to give way to you. So in France, wear your dents with pride!
The 2 kinds translate to roundabout so…
First, remember that we drive on the right in France with a default priority from the right. We turn around roundabout counter clockwise.
The roundabout on video Place de l'Étoile in Paris is a "rond-point" with priority from the right (so people coming from outside have the priority).
The most common roundabouts are "giratoires" where people from outside don't have the priority, so it's a priority to the left kind. As it's not the default priority, every ingress has signalisation to give way.
Giratoires are easier to use.
And there are a lot, really, really a lot of those in France everywhere.
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