James Charles Ruwaldt wrote:
> Could someone please describe the nature of these roundabouts
> better? All I'm hearing is how great they are but no one
> knows how to use them. I don't think we have any around here,
> just some "traffic-calming devices", i.e. islands, the city's
> installed over the past year on some streets without stop signs
> or lights. Somehow I don't think these are the same, since what
> you're describing sounds like interstate/expressway features.
In the UK, roundabouts are the "typical" intersection for two
busy roads. These roads may be a pair of secondary highways
(one lane in each direction) ranging up to the intersection
of two major 3-lane in each direction motorways such as
You'll find an excellent WWW page, complete with diagrams
(which help a LOT in this case) at
The above page is written for US drivers, assuming driving
on the right.
Simply put, the "core" of the roundabout is a "traffic circle"
where all traffic flows around the circle in one direction.
(Clockwise when viewed from above in the UK, with driving
on the left, and counterclockwise in the US, with driving
on the right.)
The basic rule is that traffic entering the circle must
yield to traffic already in the circle. (In Massachusetts,
until the mid 70's, the law was the reverse to keep with
the general "yield to vehicles on your right" philosophy,
which led to horrible problems.) Traffic entering the circle
typically doesn't come to a complete stop except during very
busy traffic periods, but slows down, and gently merges
with the traffic in the rotary.
Enough of my sorry attempts to describe this in words; check
out the web page mentioned above...
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