R is for that wonderful traffic moderator, the roundabout.
They appeared in D (D was for Driving this time), and I love them so much that they're worth their own letter. And don't even get my husband started--he could wax poetic about them for hours. Since we got back to the states, I can rarely take a ride with him where he's not saying, "This should be a roundabout," and I most often agree with him.
And clearly hubs and I aren't the only ones who think they're the cat's meow--there's a Roundabout Appreciation Society. No, I'm not kidding.
Why are they so awesome? Because a roundabout--or a traffic circle, as some people know them by--helps to control the flow of traffic by not completely disrupting it. A roundabout allows traffic to flow while also providing a safe, simple means to get from A to B for everyone, providing you know the rules of the road. Traffic keeps flowing, and, unless there's an unusual amount of traffic, it's more efficient. They do require that people know what they're doing, and can take a few tries to really get the hang of, but are so much better than stoplights at intersections once you've used them for a while.
How do you use a roundabout in the UK? First off, if you're approaching a roundabout and there's no one coming from the right (remember, you're driving on the left), you don't have to stop. When you enter a roundabout without lights at the entrance, you should yield to approaching traffic, not stop completely. If you're getting off the first exit, you get in the far left lane (again, remember you're driving on the left, so this is the lane closest to the first exit), and signal left. This tells the other drivers you're exiting on the first one (see the orange car in the picture).
If you're going across a roundabout (like the one pictured), you can get in the left lane or the right one, but don't signal until you're past the exit before the exit you want. This will tell the other drivers that you're taking it across (see the blue car in the picture).
If you're going all the way around (or taking the third exit, like in the roundabout pictured), you want to be in the right lane, and turn your right signal on as you approach the roundabout. Signal to the right as you take the roundabout all the way around, but signal to the left as soon as you go by the exit before the one you're taking (see the green car in the picture). This also works for any time you miss your exit on the roundabout; just take the roundabout all the way around to the exit you want, but signal before the one you want to take. Easy peasy!
Sometimes at bigger roundabouts, the lanes will even be marked at the entrances, so you just find the lane you want to be in and take that one all the way to the exit you want. Even easier.
See the link above for more detailed instructions.
How do you feel about roundabouts?
Stay tuned for S!