Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Traffic Circles

An example of the distance between the expert elite and the user is the difference of opinion concerning traffic circles. Traffic engineers love round-abouts, circles or rondpoints. They will defend them in the face of public outcry . In theory, a traffic circle is ingenious. You have four or more streams of traffic miraculous merging and crossing without a signal or sign. The flow is smooth and safe. That's the theory. In fact, stress levels are so high in people trying to get around that they will drive miles out of the way to avoid them. One can find many funny and scary videos on the internet illustrating the madness at traffic circles all over the world. When it doesn't work properly and safely, the traffic engineers blame the drivers who they claim are driving too fast or don't know the rules of negotiating the circle properly. In fact there are no rules but survival of the fittest when it comes to these monsters. I've been told by several local policemen that the best policy is to ignore the "rules" and drive slowly on the right very, very, very defensively.

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