Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Joys of Driving in Minnesota!


There was an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune the other day about roundabouts and how they are popping up all over the metro area to replace intersections that were once controlled by a four-way stop sign or by a traffic light. It indicated that Minnesotans were having a hard time dealing with these "new" concepts of driving. One person was even quoted as saying, "I've been driving for 30 years, and I don't really know how I'm supposed to go through it, I think a lot of people are confused".

Okay first off, WOW! How hard can it be to yield and then drive onto a curved road? I only have 14 years of driving experience but I've been through a few roundabouts in my life and I've managed to figure them out. I've actually grown quite fond of them. You have all the advantages of an intersection, you know, like turning, going straight, and most importantly....getting places, without having to come to a complete stop.

Not only do you not have to come to a complete stop but there is no worry of someone running a red light and slamming into the side of your car at 50 mph. National data shows that there are 35 percent fewer crashes and 76 percent fewer severe injuries during crashes when four-way intersections are converted to roundabouts. For those that enjoy the little things in life.....like LIVING! I would think you would appreciate a roundabout instead of getting airlifted to the nearest hospital after getting t-boned by someone text messaging their BFF.

For those who have a hard time figuring out how a roundabout works, let me explain. As you approach the intersection you should see a sign that has a bunch of arrows in a circle. That means you are approaching a roundabout. Once you arrive there is a yield sign, just like any other yield sign, it means that you should yield to other cars, once there are no other cars coming, you can enter the roundabout. Whatever you do, don't stop in the roundabout thinking you're going to let someone in from the one of the entrance lanes. You can drive around a few times to get comfortable if you'd like, you just exit on whatever road it is you want to drive on. If it's a two lane roundabout and you're going right or straight stay in the right lane, if you're going left, stay in the left lane. You can usually go straight from the left lane as well. That's it, that's all there is to it. Yield to traffic at the yield sign, drive around in a circle until you find the road you want to drive down, and you're done.

Good luck out there, and beware of people who've gone around the roundabout a few too many times, they drive like a little kid walks after spinning around in the backyard just for fun.

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