I posted earlier about the increasing frequency of roundabouts in America. I suppose It was inevitable that the America-bashing would begin with
people saying Americans are somehow mentally deficient in "getting it."
Nonsense. The only issue is familiarity. If a driver has literally never encountered a roundabout before you can't expect him to become an instant
expert. Once roundabouts are in place and people get familiar with them, particularly with anticipated lane changes to get off on the right exit, it's
as easy as any other traffic maneuver, but
they aren't all "easy" and anyone who says so is not being truthful either. Have you ever been through Portsmouth, England? Let me tell you about the
roundabout into town. It's a triple. That means that exiting the first roundabout leads you immediately to a second roundabout, exiting which leads
you to a third roundabout. It's a rather large series, so there are buildings in the middle of the circles with driveways leading into the roundabout
from the parking lots of the buildings. Oh, and there is a railroad trestle over the whole lot. Because of the buildings and the railroad you can't
really see what is happening until your are inside the roundabout, then you see a little at a time as yet another roundabout shows up. There are
several dozen small signs "directing" you to the correct exit, kind of, if you manage to both see and recognize them. It's not like they are big green
rectangles with huge arrows pointing to the correct lane. Naturally, you must be in the correct exit lane for your exit, and if you move over too
early you exit on the previous exit rather than your own. Since there are way more than 4 exits to any one of these roundabouts cars are making their
maneuvers to get into the correct lanes while in the midst of the circle, so there are many cars shifting lanes behind and in front of you as you are
turning the circle trying to find your own exit. You get to do all this in about fifteen seconds tops.
You are doing this, mind you while driving a left-hand drive car trying to shift with your left hand (an interesting story all by itself) with what
amounts to a huge outrigger (otherwise known as the passenger seat) hanging off to your left, the imagination of which is the only thing that will
keep you off the left curb, ah, I mean "kerb," while driving on the left side of the road, yielding to cars coming from your right (not your left) and
turning the circle clockwise, when your mind is telling you a head-on collision is imminent. This is done on narrow roads invented for narrow wagons,
not cars, whose names change every block even though it's the same damn street, though named during the reign of Elizabeth I, which, of course, you've
never driven, seen, nor heard of in your entire life. These roads are surrounded by "hedgerows" which grow a regulation 2.5 inches from the edges of
the road so that you cannot see ahead. When reaching a bridge on a road that is passable by one car at a time, a sign will tell you that there is a
hill ahead, restricting your vision and that the "road narrows."
You will do this only after having driven perhaps a couple three or four million miles and several decades on American roads, which you have trained
your body to do and it subsequently does on pretty much automatic pilot on wide roads that have strange things like, you know, fog lines, margins, and
stripes down the center.
Being able to do this and stay married in the process is a friggin' miracle.
edit on 3/9/2014 by schuyler because: (no reason given)