My recent response to a reader who wondered if his impression that the U.S. is engaged in a sudden burst of constructing roundabouts is correct (it is—they are the latest, greatest thing in traffic control, proliferating like weeds in a ditch) prompted several readers to weigh in. All had had experience driving in Europe, where traffic circles have been de rigeur for decades. All had detected the underpinning of trend-weariness in my words when I confirmed that they are popping up everywhere. And all had sensed the tiny fringe of skepticism in my words when I shared some of the many, many, many avowals that supporters make about the unlimited wonderfulness of traffic circles.
Here’s a sampling of what they (politely) shared:
“Your comments … are correct, but there are more compelling arguments for roundabouts. Roundabouts save gas, time and lives, and allow traffic to move more efficiently,” wrote a reader from Contra Costa, Calif. “Roundabouts are the norm in most parts of the world because they work better. Once you get used to it, traffic flow is much more efficient. In the past, one excuse used in the U.S. for not building roundabouts was that U.S. drivers are ‘not smart enough’ to use them. Nonsense! The rest of the world seems smart enough. Anyone that cannot learn to use roundabouts simply should not be driving an automobile on public roads. Go Roundabouts!”
“I lived in the U.K. for a few years and was impressed by how well traffic circles work to keep things moving. I could drive for miles without having to stop at an intersection where I was burning time and fuel waiting for a light to change.
The thing you notice driving in other countries is that you don’t see that many accidents because people have to be engaged in the act of driving and not just directed like we are here in the US. Imagine drivers that have to concentrate on driving instead of talking on a cell phone or texting!”
If traffic circles actually begin to force drivers to concentrate on driving, I will personally bang the drum loudly. Here’s hoping they are as advertised by these readers.
What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email Sharon@ctwfeatures.com.