Roundabouts: The Perfect Solution to Relieve Traffic Congestion

Roundabouts: The Perfect Traffic Solution

The city planners in my town (population: 75,000 — and the ninth fastest growing city in the U.S.) love to construct traffic circles, or roundabouts. They refer to them as “traffic calmers.”

We have at least 16 roundabouts, with more planned.

They really do keep traffic moving faster than traffic lights do – and statistics show they result in fewer accidents.

After a traffic circle was built at the entrance to my subdivision, the traffic flow was much, much faster; no more ten-minute morning backups to turn onto the main road.

If you’ve never drive on them, roundabouts can be kind of intimidating at first.

All you need to do when you approach one, though, is slow way down, then look left. If nobody is coming, you can merge into the roundabout. (Nobody should ever be coming from the right!) If a car is approaching from the left, stop and wait — since you can’t predict whether they’re going to turn off before they get to you. When all’s clear, go. That’s all there is to it!

And they can even be fun, too.

The best time I ever had in a roundabout is when my friend, C, and I went garage saling one Saturday morning in an established, older neighborhood with the first roundabout in our area. To liven things up during our quest for treasures, she maniacally drove five or six times in a complete loop around the roundabout, until I finally had to yell, “Stop! I’m going to throw up!”

(Don’t try this in a heavy-traffic circle…)

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9 Responses to Roundabouts: The Perfect Solution to Relieve Traffic Congestion

  1. Carolann says:

    Yes I like them too. NJ seems to have many of them. We need more here in PA.
    Carolann recently posted…Suddenly SassyMy Profile

  2. ScottRAB says:

    You show a picture of a modern roundabout, then discuss stopping, which is usually not necessary at a modern roundabout. Don’t get me started on NJ.
    Many people confuse other and older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. East coast US rotaries (NJ), large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triomphe, Dupont Circle), and small neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), go to to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older rotary and a modern roundabout:

    • blogqueendiane says:

      You obviously know a lot about this! Occasionally you can just enter our traffic circles (whatever you officially call them; they refer to them as roundabouts in our newspaper) if you see nobody coming from the left — but usually there are one or more cars approaching from the left traveling fairly quickly, and you do really need to stop if people are coming — since you can’t predict whether they’re going to exit right before they get to you or continue.

  3. Randy Light says:

    My first real exposure to roundabouts was in Ireland. Imagine driving on the “wrong” side of the road with a stick-shift and trying to navigate a roundabout for the first time! I think they are great and should be far more widespread. They keep things moving.

    • blogqueendiane says:

      Wow! First of all, I can’t drive a stick-shift — and can’t imagine driving on the “wrong” side of the street to begin with — then navigating a roundabout on top of that. You’re my hero!

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