What’s wrong with us America? Land of the free and home of the people too stupid to figure out how to drive through a traffic circle (roundabout). Come on people! The rest of the world has had this since the wheel was invented. It’s not that hard. Today I will teach you the ropes.

Traffic Circle Rule #1: Pick Your Lane Before Entering the Circle

Signs are posted well in advance to the circle entrance. Scan them quickly to figure out which lane you need to be in before you get to the circle entrance. I think this is where ninety percent of the people  that can’t get this right go wrong. They’ve not been through a roundabout, or at least not many, and they see all the signs and panic. Let’s break this down. For the majority of circles there are three possible directions you will go – right, left or straight. You will see signs with an arrow pointing in, you guessed it, one of those directions. There should also be matching markings on the road. Get into the appropriate lane. If things happen to fast and you miss the signs, it’s a pretty safe bet that in a two lane situation, the left lane will allow a left exit or a straight on exit, while the right lane will likely allow a right exit or a straight on exit.

Traffic Circle Rule #2: Entering the Circle

You must enter the circle no later than at the same time as the person on the entrance to your left. It’s that simple. Don’t sit there waiting forever until there are no cars in sight. All you’re doing is pissing off the few of us who know how to use a roundabout. This is common sense here people. If two cars enter at the same time and they are coming from different entrances, they aren’t going to hit one another. Whatever you do however, do not enter the circle after the person ninety degrees to your left has entered, especially if I am that person. That is likely to cause a T-Bone… and not the kind that tastes good medium-rare.

Traffic Circle Rule #3: DO NOT STOP IN THE CIRCLE

Yes I’m yelling. Once you are in the circle you do not stop to let somebody in and you do not stop because you are confused! The only reason you stop is if you are looking to get run into.

Traffic Circle Rule #4: Do not disobey your lane.

Let me give you a scenario that happened to me last week. I was in the center lane, which could go straight or left. The right lane could go straight or right. A semi truck in the outer lane realize he was in the wrong lane to go left so just proceeded to go around the circle anyhow, almost running me over. If you disobey your lane you could injure or kill someone, get a ticket, get a fine, and if you kill someone probably end up in jail! If you screw up and are in the wrong lane, see the next rule.

Traffic Circle Rule #5: What to do When You Screw Up

Good news. It’s a circle. Keep going around it until you figure out where you need to exit and what lane you need to be in. One important thing to remember is that you must yield to all the lanes inside of yours. For example if there are three lanes in the circle and you are in the middle one, you must yield to the inside lane, but the outside lane must yield to you. Worst case scenario, if you are in a situation where you must exit, just do so and turn around and try again. You probably need the practice anyway!

Post your traffic circle frustrations below.

Photo by _chrisUK