Scenario: I’m driving on Monument Avenue towards the city in the right lane. A burgundy red Ford Explorer is driving in front of me going around 27 or 28 mph. We’re driving along when we hit the intersection of Monument and N. Allen Ave. That’s the large multi-lane roundabout or traffic circle with the Robert E. Lee statue in the middle. Well, I switch to the left lane before hand, because I plan on passing him after the roundabout. So as we enter the circle, I keep straight and so does the Ford. As I continue going straight, the Ford starts to shift to the left as though he is turning. Both of us immediately slam on our breaks because he was about to hit my front right end. He gets out of the car and starts cursing and complaining about how I should have turned left instead of keeping straight. Well, of course I drive around him because I don’t care to start a scene with this guy.
This is just one "roundabout" scenario. I am constantly running into people who don’t know how to drive in a roundabout. Some don’t yield, others switch lanes in the circle, and I’ve even seen a few people stop and back up. I know that in Richmond there aren’t many roundabouts, so it isn’t really critical to know how to drive in one. Not to say that people don’t know how to drive in one, but to say that there are some who still don’t know how to.
Let me ask you something. If you were to drive in a roundabout, would you know how to properly enter and proceed in one?
The answer is Yes, because I know you paid close attention in Drivers Ed. Class. But for those of you who “forgot” about the rules, allow me to briefly review.
First, you must always yield before entering the circle.
If you intend on turning right or remaining straight, keep in the right lane.
If you intend to either keep straight, turn left, or make a U-Turn, keep in the left lane.
Never back up or stop in a roundabout, except in special circumstances (ie. an accident).
Below are pictures from the Washington State Department of Transportation:
I hope that this was a good reminder. Just keep one more thing in mind, when driving through a circle, watch out for pedestrians, I’ve come across one or two incidences where somebody’s been hit by a car.
I’m open to any questions, comments, stories, etc. Thanks, and enjoy the weekend!
Pictures: WSDOT http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/safety/roundabouts/