Why can’t people use traffic roundabouts properly?

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
August 9, 2018 - 6:58am Updated: August 9, 2018 - 11:14am

KAMLOOPS — I TOOK THE ICBC DRIVER refresher test. Flunked it. “Looks like your driving knowledge is a little rusty,” the computer told me.

But there’s one thing I do know that most other drivers in Kamloops don’t — how to exit a roundabout. That wasn’t on the refresher test.

Yesterday I defended the zipper merge; now I’m here to tell you about roundabouts.

It’s been a half-dozen years since they started springing up everywhere and they’re an efficient way to move traffic through a lot of intersections. When they first came in, none of us as drivers had a clue what to do with them.

Now, we move in and out of them with ease, but almost everyone still does it improperly. My recent observations indicate that maybe one in 50 does it right.

So pay attention, Prof. Mel is going to guide you through it. When we enter a single-lane roundabout, we don’t need to signal because there’s only one way to turn. A left-turn signal only confuses things.

But when we leave it, we’re supposed to signal for a right turn.

Let me repeat — yield when entering, signal right when leaving. It’s not against the law to signal when entering, but it is against the law not to signal when exiting.

I’m so focused on this that I’ve become obsessed with watching what other drivers do whenever I encounter a traffic circle.

Somebody told me the other day that our roundabouts are so small you barely have a chance to get one blink or two in before you head out of them. That’s very true, but what about roundabouts in other places that have several lanes and everyone really has to be on their toes.

Using signal lights properly is a lot more important in those ones, but why not do it right in all of them?

The cops would have a field day if they started showing up at roundabouts and writing tickets.

So now you know how not to get a ticket. Aren’t I a smart driver?

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.