How to Navigate a Roundabout? Very Carefully.
I'm kind of a freak about using turn signals -- I use them when I'm driving up the levels of a parking garage -- but I was willing to cut drivers some slack in the new roundabout on Route 50 in Loudoun County, because the circle is so tight. But this traveler is having none of it.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
While you are correct in your reply in Sunday's column to Mr. Drummond regarding roundabouts, saying that they are going to "take some getting used to," I can't agree that the use of turn signals to indicate intention is so difficult that you would attempt to excuse a driver's failure to do so.
Your excusing the non-use of signals in this case because the circle is so small that the driver is likely to have two hands on the wheel throughout the entire experience is simply silly. Are most drivers so incompetent that they are unable to use the fingers of the left hand to operate the signal stalk, especially since the left hand should be positioned at approximately "9-o'clock" anyway? Anyone who is that lacking in driving skill should be in the back seat while someone more talented operates the vehicle.
Perhaps if they put their phone down long enough to navigate the circle, they would have a free hand to operate the turn signal? And with full time and attention on driving, they might not have to mentally "reboot" in the midst of the situation and come to a full stop at the yield sign, or worse, in the circle itself.
I enjoy your column and your advice is generally good, but I think in this case you missed the mark.
Here's the advice offered by the Virginia Department of Transportation on using roundabouts:
* Slow down and prepare to yield as you approach the roundabout.
* On the approach, you must be in the right lane (if it is a dual lane roundabout).
* You must yield to the traffic already in the roundabout.
* Stay to the right as you approach your turn.
* Place your right turn signal on until you have exited the roundabout.
Posted by: 1995hoo | April 20, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: thetan | April 21, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse
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