Thursday, October 28, 2010

Turn Circle Wisdom

I live in the country on a concession road which has got (gotten?) gradually busier over the last forty years. A kilometer from our house is an intersection with even more traffic. Several years ago a stop light was put there because of a history of accidents. Now the ultimate solution has been constructed: a turn circle.

This roundabout has attracted a lot of attention because it's one of the first in our area. It's most unnerving as you approach it for the first time. Instead of the driver stopping, the sign directs you to yield only to oncoming traffic from the left. If the coast is clear, you simply continue driving in a counter clock wise direction until you reach the road you want to travel.

Sounds simple enough. But what if the traffic is quite busy and an approaching driver is rather aggressive. Some patience and clear thinking is needed.

Of course, some turn circles are notorious for frayed nerves. Consider this brief video at the Arc de Triomphe roundabout in Paris. Indeed, pedestrians are directed into tunnels rather than negotiating with the traffic. My wife and I found the best vantage point atop the monument itself when we visited there.

What is your experience with turn circles or do you have an alternative traffic solution?