Bad Drivers? In Tennessee? Who Knew?!?!
I make a jolly loop around the Korean Vets roundabout at least twice a day. I travel the Music Row roundabout (home of infamous “naked people statue”) a few times a week. Roundabouts are used in Europe on the reg and it’s really NBD. There really are benefits to them - they keep traffic moving, no one is stopping at a red light and the streets aren’t getting all backed up. They are also more attractive, with some sort of art in the middle, as opposed to more concrete and traffic lights. (The roundabout on Korean Vets is home to the Stix sculpture, the most expensive piece of art the city has ever purchased, coming in at 750K!)
But here’s the thing – people have a hard time knowing what the hell they are doing when they approach. I see the fear and uncertainty in their eyes. So I wanted to offer a few pointers in hopes that we can all loop with joy in the days to come.
1. As you approach, you must look to your left but you will drive to your right. It’s scary, I know, but it can be done! Just go slowly and yield. There may also be another car on either side of you, so be cautious of them and remember they have just as much right to be there as you do.
2. Stay to your right! If you need to break off the roundabout immediately, you should enter from the right lane so that you can then go right without hitting another vehicle. There will be cars entering the roundabout, so you do have to look out for them, but hopefully they will be following step 1, which is to look left (at you!) and yield as they enter the roundabout and take their loop. Also, you can use the left lane too. (You can do it, I promise!) I usually use the left lane if I know I’m taking a later exit and will have time to get over to my right. So be a good neighbor and let people over!
3. Be present. A roundabout is not the time to change the radio station or look at your phone. (In fact, there is never a time for that while driving!) In drivers ed you probably learned to be a defensive driver. Use your mirrors and your eyeballs to watch out for other cars - so do that while you’re in the roundabout. It’s that easy!
Just remember these three easy steps and I feel confident that we will all soon be looping around our roundabouts with ease!