Saturday, June 19, 2010

Call it morning driving thru the sound and in and out the valley

So far, there’s been a pretty great response all around to this year’s White Elephant Blogathon. And guess what, folks? It’s not over yet! Just today, I received notification from Muriels voter Philip Tatler that he’s resurrected his long-dormant blog for the purposes of posting a review of his White Elephant assignment, Ken Russell’s Crimes of Passion. And not long after, Richard Gorelick of 75/50/25 linked me to his review of Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare. Click the links in the post below to check them out, and if you haven’t had time to read the other reviews yet, they’re all worth a look. So yeah, I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out so far, and if all goes well there will be at least a few more reviews before it’s all said and done. Why, it’s almost enough to make me forget all about those horrible drivers out there.

(Yes, this is going to be another rant about bad driving. Deal.)

Today’s targets are those people who haven’t quite figured out how to deal with those newfangled “roundabouts” that are popping up nowadays. Personally, I think they’re fairly easy to navigate. But try telling that to the guy who nearly plowed into the side of my car this morning trying to enter the roundabout. So for that guy, and all the other mental flyweights who sacrifice all common sense whenever they climb behind the wheel, here’s a short list I’ve compiled of roundabout rules:

1. Roundabouts are designed as a replacement for the conventional intersection. Rather than simply turning in the direction of his desired street, the motorist navigates around a small circle in a counterclockwise direction until he finds himself in a position to turn right on the desired street. Thankfully, I haven’t noticed anyone who hasn’t figured this out already. Still, it’s worth mentioning all the same.

2. The traffic that is already in the roundabout has the right of way. This means that if you’re waiting at the roundabout for an opening in traffic, you’re just gonna have to be patient and watch carefully for a real opening instead of speeding implusively into traffic in an attempt to create one. If you can’t handle that, then tough shit, because if you hit someone it’s your bloody fault.

3. That said, once you’re in the flow of traffic in the roundabout, you should do your level best to keep traffic moving. Naturally, if there’s a choice between applying the brakes and mowing somebody down, then by all means slow down or stop. But other than that, there’s no discernible reason (at least, not as far as I can imagine) to stop once you’ve entered the roundabout. Pull the car in, drive around, and drive out again. Pretty basic, I’d say.

4. Likewise, it behooves you (and everyone else around you) to slow the hell down once you’ve entered the roundabout. This means that roundabouts should not be taken at 45 MPH. Better to slow down a little and be careful than speed up and cause an accident that’ll slow you down even more, right?

5. Roundabouts have been around in Europe for years, and for some in America the sight of a roundabout conjures up images of motorists in Paris or Rome speeding around in a circle and jockeying for position like the famed chariot race in Ben-Hur. This shouldn’t happen. In my experience, most roundabouts have clearly marked lanes designed to feed drivers into different streets. These should be observed at all times, particularly during high-traffic hours. And yes, this means that if you miss your desired turn, you’ll just have to drive around again. I mean, it’s not called a “roundabout” for nothing after all.

So, what reason could I possibly have to write this post? Last night, someone damn near ran me off the road trying to make a right turn from the left-hand lane. Seriously- are roundabouts that bloody hard? I’d like to think that if one uses a little common sense (a precious commodity, I know) behind the wheel, and shows a little consideration for others on the road, a post like this won’t be necessary. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case, so I’ve done this for the benefit of those who require it. That goes double for you, dingbat teenager who rear-ended Ang a few months ago.

As for you other smart drivers out there, there’s no need to thank me. I like to think I’m doing the Lord’s work here. Consider it preemptive penance for the curse Victor put on me

No comments: