Roundabouts have been cropping all over North Fulton and Forsyth County over the last decade, and if local road plans are any suggestion, we will all be traversing many more in the years ahead.
Traffic circles can be a bit daunting for those unaccustomed to using them, so I’ve put together a “how to” on, well, how to traverse local roundabouts based on how people actually do so here. This will help you tackle those supposedly intimidating asphalt monsters with ease.
Note, this article is sarcastic. Should you find yourself nodding sagely at any of the advice below, know that you have caused your otherwise sensible, calm neighbors to wonder what your head would look like on a spike.
Always come to a complete stop before entering a roundabout: Oh sure, so-called traffic experts and those with an IQ in double digits will tell you that the roundabout is an amazing tool for eliminating “always stop” situations like stop signs or traffic lights, but you should always come to an abrupt stop before entering any roundabout. This will allow you plenty of time, a suggestion is waiting at least two full minutes, to assess that there is not another single car within a 1-mile radius of traffic circle, before entering.
You should never exceed the speed of smell through a roundabout: Ever notice how you don’t see a posted speed limit inside a roundabout? That’s because they should only be traversed at a speed comparable to the movement of tectonic plates.
Do not enter a traffic circle if there is another car in it: Some people may argue that when a car is entering a roundabout on the opposite end of your entry point, you have time to go ahead and enter the traffic circle, especially considering their speed of travel means you could likely roast a 20-pound turkey in the time it takes for them to reach your point in the circle. However, this is a common misconception. Only one car is permitted inside a traffic circle at any one time, so be sure to follow rule No. 1 and come to an abrupt stop at your entry point and wait until the circle is completely clear before entering.
Consider keeping bottled water and dehydrated meals in your car because this process could take hours. Also, ignore all those angry people behind you honking, yelling and waving their arms. They clearly don’t know how roundabouts work.
Only yield to traffic within the roundabout if you feel like it: If you do not come to a complete stop before entering a traffic circle, it’s best to not yield at all and charge through the roundabout without any concern for those who might already be traveling through it. They’ll stop. Hopefully.
In dual-lane roundabouts, use whatever lane tickles your fancy: Disregard any notion that specific lanes in dual-lane roundabouts are for specific purposes, including through lanes or those used to exit at certain points. You should pick whatever lane you like — inside, outside, it doesn’t matter. That’s because if you get it wrong, you can always just switch lanes abruptly and without warning, never mind if other people happen to be driving in that other lane and you cause them to slam on the brakes or take evasion action. If you don’t feel confident enough to pick a specific lane, just use both. Drive your subcompact Toyota Corolla like it was an 18-wheeler. It’s fine.
I hope these tips will help locals, and those moving to the area, understand how roundabouts are traversed in North Fulton and Forsyth County so they can start to view this type of intersection as the beautiful bit of engineering it is instead of some demonic, anxiety inducing traffic solution.
I leave you with one final tip, and this is a legitimate one — with more roundabouts cropping up in our area, be sure to always make sure your car insurance is up to date. You’re going to need it.