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  #1  
Old 25 August 2015, 01:52 PM
A Turtle Named Mack's Avatar
A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Driver You might be wrong about roundabouts

Misconceptions about roundabouts – circular intersections that are cropping up all over Georgia — abound with regard to everything from how they work, to how safe they are, to what they cost. Georgia Department of Transportation has a good instructional video on roundabouts. And with the help of Scott E. Zehngraff, assistant state traffic engineer, we can now dispel some of the myths about them.

http://commuting.blog.ajc.com/2015/0...t-roundabouts/
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  #2  
Old 25 August 2015, 02:05 PM
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Darth Credence Darth Credence is offline
 
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I have a definite love/hate relationship with roundabouts. I love them, but hate the fact that the people here just can't quite seem to understand them. There is one near my house that works great on the occasional times that everyone understands them. Most of the time, there are a few people who just don't get the concept, and end up stopping and shutting down the whole thing. This has been going on for years.
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Old 25 August 2015, 02:35 PM
dfresh dfresh is offline
 
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I grew up with them, and they generally work very well, but yeah some people just do NOT get the idea. An intersection near my house is being upgraded from a two way stop, and it is supposed to be upgraded to a round-about, but some people are pushing for a four-way stop. I so hope that it doesn't go to a four-way stop since most times, there is no one at the north-south part of the intersection, but we'd have to stop anyway just because if there are stop signs.
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Old 25 August 2015, 03:25 PM
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Our county is starting to use roundabouts. The first major one was installed just off the interstate in Venice (thanks for experimenting on us, county commissioners). After five years drivers are still struggling with how they are to be used. Throw in drivers just getting off the interstate that have never used a roundabout and you have a recipe for disaster. They may reduce serious accidents, but this roundabout has more accidents in one year than the most dangerous signaled intersection in the county. This despite the fact that many locals go out of their way to avoid this roundabout.

In fact we had a guy that was cited for an accident in it and fought the ticket. He brought experts in to explain that he was in fact using the roundabout correctly and that the other driver was in the wrong. The judge agreed and was about to throw out the ticket when the Florida Highway Patrol (FPL) raised an objection. The official FPL interpretation of how traffic should move through the roundabout was in direct opposition to the experts. After some discussion lane markings were changed, new signs put in place and the FPL changed their way of determining who was at fault. Oh, yeah, the guy did get out of his ticket.

Venice Roundabout: Worst Intersection in Sarasota County?
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  #5  
Old 25 August 2015, 03:32 PM
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We got one a few years ago. It works pretty well part of the year, but considering that it's at the highway exit to the university which means we have a large crop of new people (students and parents) every year who don't know how to use it, it's probably not the best placement for one. Add in all the people who come in for games and such and you constantly have people with no clue what they are doing.
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  #6  
Old 25 August 2015, 03:50 PM
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Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
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They put quite a few of them into my neighborhood. They work well and seem to improve flow in both directions at low traffic intersections.

They installed one downtown which is inside of a four way stop. I'm not sure what that does that is an improvement. It seems to slow things down and create confusion more than anything.
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  #7  
Old 25 August 2015, 03:55 PM
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crocoduck_hunter crocoduck_hunter is offline
 
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There was a roundabout that was used to replace a stop light in a city I frequent.

The real problem is that whoever designed it went way overboard on putting in plants around it, so it actually has worse visibility.
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  #8  
Old 25 August 2015, 05:15 PM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Plenty of roundabouts in Kuwait and I prefer them over four-way stop intersections.

One major advantage of the roundabouts in Kuwait is that almost all of them are on multiple intersections and the inner circle median diameter tends to be rather large, plus the approaches also have good visibility.
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  #9  
Old 25 August 2015, 05:39 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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There is one roundabout in Huntsville, AL where the traffic from each direction is appropriate, but there was not enough land available for it, so it is far too small. With a passenger vehicle, you have to turn very hard right then left, like avoiding debris in the road, and still as many people hit the curb as not. With a larger vehicle, you just cannot traverse without going over the curbs.
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  #10  
Old 25 August 2015, 05:41 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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For very densely populated and car-traveled areas, they don't improve anything. That's why there are numerous roundabouts with traffic lights in the UK.

In low to moderate traffic, they work fine.

OY
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  #11  
Old 26 August 2015, 05:34 AM
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Don Enrico Don Enrico is offline
 
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Roundabouts are coming into fashion in Germany, but mainly at the edges of towns and in the countryside - there's not much room left in the inner cities.

Vacationing in Spain, I just drove through lots of roundabaouts both in cities and out, including in Barcelona (surely a densly populated area), and they seemed to work fine.
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  #12  
Old 26 August 2015, 06:38 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Roundabouts are the second most effective intersection, after the height separated intersections (probably not the correct English term, but I mean the ones with an overpass and ramps). They are also extremely safe, very few dangerous accidents happen, as everybody is going more or less in the same direction, so most accidents just becomes fender benders (motorcycles excepted, but they are dangerous in just about any situation, and a roundabout still is better than other solutions for them).

My main problems with them are:

* In the winter (or, as I've experienced, when there is a fountain in the center and some idiot put soap in it, creating a mountain of bubbles which leaked onto the road), when it's slippery, it's easy to lose control.
* Occasionally, trucks tips over. Seen it once, scary as hell to see. By coincident, 20 years later, I talked to a guy who I found out was the guy in the truck. Scary as hell for him as well...
* Long trucks and buses sometimes have problems with smaller roundabouts.
* If you floor it on the way out of the roundabout, you'll wear out your front wheel bearings a lot faster.

Still, these are minor flaws, and the roundabout is still a darn good construction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Photo Bob View Post
In fact we had a guy that was cited for an accident in it and fought the ticket. He brought experts in to explain that he was in fact using the roundabout correctly and that the other driver was in the wrong. The judge agreed and was about to throw out the ticket when the Florida Highway Patrol (FPL) raised an objection. The official FPL interpretation of how traffic should move through the roundabout was in direct opposition to the experts. After some discussion lane markings were changed, new signs put in place and the FPL changed their way of determining who was at fault. Oh, yeah, the guy did get out of his ticket.
We have that problem in Sweden as well. The police is currently having a drive where they ticket people who don't give directions properly in roundabout. The problem is that the police is not interpreting the law correctly (and I won't even go into the fact that it's not the role of the police to interpret laws anyway, that's up to the Courts), so the tickets are all wrong.

Basically, the police wants you to signal right when leaving a roundabout. However, the law does not require this, and it can lead to dangerous misunderstandings.

What the law say on the subject is very little, so one has to go back to general rules for signaling. Among them is the rule that if you have no choice of where to go, you don't have to signal. For example, if you come to a T-crossing, entering from the vertical leg, and the horizontal leg is a one way street, you don't have to signal, as you can only go in one direction.

With roundabouts, this gives several options (all assuming a 4-way intersection):

* Single lane roundabout. Signal when exiting right or straight. No need to signal when exiting left, as you no longer have a choice of where to go.
* Dual lane roundabout, outer lane. Signal when exiting right. No need to signal when exiting straight, as there is no choice of path.
* Dual lane roundabout, inner lane. Signal when exiting straight, no need to signal when exiting left, as there is no choice.

Basically, see it as a straight road with one (two if single lane) T-intesections and a turn at the end. That makes it clearer. Then bend that straight road to the correct shape. The same rules still applies.

To further confuse the issue, there are also intersections which looks like a roundabout, but are not marked with the sign for a roundabout (the three circulating arrows). These may look like a roundabout, but legally, they are ordinary intersection, but with a large refuge in the center. This makes for some very confusing, and potentially dangerous misunderstandings:

* Vehicles outside the intersection has right of way, as the right hand rule applies (unless signs say otherwise, of course). This is exactly the opposite of a roundabout, where vehicles inside the roundabout have tight of way.
* Signalling is done as in an ordinary intersection. In other words, all the way through, you signal the direction you are going to exit, so signal left for left, right for right, and no signal for straight.

Now, this is not all, as there are some commom behaviors that mess things up, based on the confusion between to two types. Even driving schools mess this up. This means that many people signal which way they are going when entering, and then signal right when exiting (regardless of direction).

As you can see, with all these variants floating around, signalling becomes undistinct to the point of meaninglessness. You can never rely on a certain meaning for a signal, because you don't know which model the driver follows. And, on top of that, the police add to the confusion by ticketing drivers for perfectly legal driving and giving the wrong guidelines. Even more conflicting variants are given by the road administration (which, by the way, like the police, aren't the correct instance for interpreting laws).

All in all, signalling in roundabouts and roundabout-like intersections is a mess in Sweden.
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  #13  
Old 26 August 2015, 12:22 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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The northeast suburbs of Indianapolis have put in a large number of them, and they seem to work pretty well. In some intersections in which I am familiar with the "before" and "after" roundabout installation, I must say that the traffic flow is better with a roundabout. I do think they work better when they have reached some kind of "critical mass" so that most drivers are familiar with them.

Nick
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  #14  
Old 26 August 2015, 01:02 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Theodorakis View Post
The northeast suburbs of Indianapolis have put in a large number of them, and they seem to work pretty well. In some intersections in which I am familiar with the "before" and "after" roundabout installation, I must say that the traffic flow is better with a roundabout. I do think they work better when they have reached some kind of "critical mass" so that most drivers are familiar with them.
Also, you need a certain number of vehicles for them to be more effective.

I've seen a porkchop diagram, with number of vehicles in each direction on the respective axis, and different areas showing what type of intersection (unregulated intersection, traffic lights, roundabout or overpass) is the most effective. Basically, they are in the order specified above, but if the vehicle flow in the different legs of the intersection is extremely assymetrical, the order might be a little different.
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  #15  
Old 26 August 2015, 01:22 PM
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Alarm Alarm is offline
 
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Roundabouts are getting more popular here too, but people still act as if they were a new thing.

There's a popular local ad that reinforces this annoyance for me.

"You can find us, east of the roundabout!"

What roundabout? on the particular street they mention, there are three roundabouts that I know of, so east of which one?

IOW: a roundabout by itself is not a landmark you can use to navigate.
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  #16  
Old 26 August 2015, 01:24 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarm View Post
IOW: a roundabout by itself is not a landmark you can use to navigate.
That depends if the roundabouts have special features, of course. Some have trees, flowers, etc in them.

OY
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  #17  
Old 26 August 2015, 01:58 PM
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Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
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I thought Timmy Ho's was the only necessary landmark when navigating in Canada.
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  #18  
Old 26 August 2015, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarm View Post
"You can find us, east of the roundabout!"

What roundabout? on the particular street they mention, there are three roundabouts that I know of, so east of which one?
In addition, that ad assumes that people know which way east is at that particular point in the road.

Many people have poor senses of direction, or even if they have some sense of direction don't think in terms of east and west. Unless the sun's out at the moment and not near the zenith, there's no obvious indication. IME route numbers are little help, as "Route X East" may at any given point in the road be heading east, south, north, or even west.

-- I'm not sure I've ever driven through a roundabout. Does one just stay to the right (in the USA) and keep going around until one's exit comes up? (yes, I'm sure I could go Google it. If nobody answers, or the answer's confusing, then probably I will.)
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  #19  
Old 26 August 2015, 03:01 PM
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For a single lane roundabout, you merge into it when clear (traffic in the roundabout has right of way) then stay in it until your exit comes up.

For a multi-lane, you just follow the signage/road markings. For example, the right lane in the roundabout is for people going straight or going right. The left lane is for going straight or going left. The ones I've seen have the same road markings and signage as you might see on a freeway exit. A left/straight arrow for the left lane and a right/straight arrow for the right lane.
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  #20  
Old 26 August 2015, 03:18 PM
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Thanks, GenYus. That seems simple enough.

I presume that if what one's looking for is, say "Rt X East" and it's a multilane, that the signage will tell you which lane you need for Rt. X East, just as it does for a standard exit; and that if you can't get over in time (from, say, a right hand entry to a left hand exit) you just keep going and try to get into the correct lane by the next time it comes around; which would be easier than dealing with an unfamiliar intersection that's not a roundabout, because you'd keep getting another chance at it without having to find someplace to turn around.
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