Round and Around and Around in a Roundabout

There is a street in town that I avoid like the plaque.  Because for some God forsaken reason, they built a flippin roundabout on that road.  Like we're all cultured and European or something. When we're not.  We live in the Midwest.  Surrounded by pig farms and corn and shit.  Literally.

SO, I can't for the LIFE of me figure out how the damn thing works.  And a circle is like what, the simplest geometric shape ever?  It's not like they put a flippin isosceles triangle in the intersection.  (totally had to Google how to spell that, btw.)  Or a parallelogram. (THAT spelling... all me baby)

The Hubby is all, Just follow the arrows and what other cars do and I'm all, but that still makes no sense and he's all, Jesus H. Christ, it's simple, just follow the arrows and I'm all, but the arrows don't make sense!!!  I'm scared.  Hold me.
He patiently drove me through it once. Like he was gonna teach me something.  Hello?  Have we met dear?  And he's not normally the patient kind, but since he's clearly king of roundabouts, he thought he'd show his shit off.  And he did it. Successfully.  In one turn. And I sat there all Yay!  Good for you!  I totally get it now. Thanks for showing me.
Flat.  Out.  Lying.
But the boys, they never know when we're faking anything or not, so I was in the clear.  Until he reads this.

Whenever I even think of the roundabout, I have visions of poor Clark Griswold and his family from European vacation, "Look kids!  It's Big Ben!" Over and over and over cuz he's trapped in the evil, cyclical maze of a roundabout.  see it here

Well, my avoidance has worked out well, because I've never had to drive through it alone for the few years it's been there. 

Until today.

I took the wrong damn exit off the interstate on the way home, and when I realized my error, I gripped the stearing wheel with both hands, turned down the radio (cuz that instantly makes your driving better.  Obviously.), and declared through clenched teeth, Shit!  To which Bossy Girl replied her favorite line of all time, Watch your language MOTHER. Boy do I *love* hearing that 12 times a day.

I dropped my speed about 10 mph in a total of 1 second, annoying the guy behind me but dude, don't you see what's about to happen to us?  We're about to be in a ROUND-ABOUT!  AAAGGHHH!!!

I was hoping against all odds that no other car would happen to be entering the flabbergasting circle of dread and despair at the same time I would be but no, of course I wouldn't be that lucky, because karma has it out for me. It may or may not have something to do with all the bugs I kill.  But I don't actually kill them quickly and humanely with a heavy squish.... nope, I choose to I suffocate them with hairspray until they're immobilized, and then toss them in the toilet to hopelessly flail their hair product-caked legs until I flush them to their watery grave.  They're bugs though people, GEEZ.

There were four, count them four other cars at the round-about at that instant, clearly placed there strategically to mock my confusion and shoddy circular driving skills. 
So what do I do?  I stop.  And wait.  Thinking I'd generously let them all go first so I could figure this thing out in peace and solitude.

However, technically you're not supposed to just stop in a round-about, I figured out after the fact.  It's all about a smart yield for taking turns and a slow follow through.  For the love of all that is holy,  I sat there, clearly confusing the shit out of myself, my kids, the other drivers, the round-about, and sweet Jesus and all the angels above.  I may as well have just put the damn car in park, turned off the engine. and taken a nap. 

There was a bit of honking.  And some annoyed glares.  And possibly some tears.  From me. 
Then I noticed that I was still in the far outer lane, which had arrows pointing to the right... they were like flashing, neons signs navigating me towards the easiest way out to freedom.  Allelujah!  I did a fast right and got the hell outta dodge. 

I'm now home safe.  No thanks to the jerkoff engineer who was all Hey!  Know what we need to class the city up?  A CIRCULAR intersection!  Then let's put up a camera and laugh our asses off as we watch people attempt to maneuver it. 
I've heard engineers don't have a good sense of humor anyway.....

I decided to read up on roundabout, and eHow tells me not only how to drive through them, but the purpose behind them.  Supposedly, they are more fuel efficient than stop and go sorts of intersections.  And allegedly, they're safer.  Clearly whoever wrote that hasn't driven through one with me there. And they're from the 1940s and 50s.  I say let's move on and stick with the present people. No sense living in the past.  (but if we do choose to live in the past, can I go back to being crow's feet free and way skinnier?)
THIS is how to work a roundabout
There's a couple of things that baffled me after reading the article:
It's ass backwards!  What'd I JUST say about not living in Europe?  They drive on the wrong side of the road, and they yield to the wrong side too!  So why are we copying their intersections?? 

Also, this:
Clearly I understand the part about not knowing how to negotiate them because, *raising hand, Me!  Me!
But why are the rules not in driver's manuels?  Because I read and reread those bad boys religiously in an attempt to hone my driving skills.  For reals.

I also read that roundabouts give priority to drivers who just enter the traffic.  But if I'm already in there, why should I have to wait?  I drive faster than you, I made it first, and some other driver gets to budge?  No fair!

I also read that they "reduce driving frustration."  NOT

All I have to say to end this post is a direct address to the roundabout itself.

Dear Roundabout,
You made me cry.  I hate you.  I don't understand how you work. And you made me swear in front of my kids.  Which I "never" do.  (fingers crossed)
But hey, sucks to be you, cuz you're nothing but a circle, so while you're all stuck going around and around to infinity, I'm moving on.  And I'm staying the hell away.

PS.  I apologize if I offended any Europeans, engineers, geometry teachers, or European Engineers.  OR European Geometry teachers.  OR former geometry teachers turned engineers who now live in Europe.

1 Comment:

Connie Nichols December 28, 2010 at 1:59 PM  

Hoo Boy! How I can identify with that! Somewhere, there is a university that is cranking out traffic 'engineers' and one of the required classes is "How to Piss Off and Confuse American Drivers". They are graduating thousands, and sending them to BFE to build round-abouts where they are not needed.

We have a new one up near our smallish airport. Semi trucks hauling fruit to the warehouses and packing sheds are the primary users of that particular stretch of road.

The roundabout is made for cars and pickups, NOT very long and wide trucks. Needless to say, the chaos that results (and damage to curbing, landscaping, signage, and other vehicles) has been substantial.

IT would have been much cheaper to put signs up for a 4-way stop OR install a stop light!

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