Thursday, August 22, 2013
How To Use a New England Rotary
A rotary is a big circle offering the opportunity to change direction on a major road. In other places it is also known as a traffic circle or a roundabout.
I have other names for it, all of them unprintable.
In Massachusetts, entering drivers are supposed to yield to the traffic in the rotary. If you're lucky, there is a big white sign outlined in red that states this fact. However, this being New England, street signs of any sort are optional. (If you still think YIELD signs are yellow, you should probably stay out of rotaries or talk to your town/city hall. They changed color in 1971)
In theory, these rotaries are a great idea. Wait at the entrance until the coast is clear, ease in. If your exit isn't the first one, scoot to the inside lane until you want to get off. If you miss your exit, no problem. Just go around again and pay closer attention. Sounds simple, right?
Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Nobody ever wants to yield, whether they're already on the rotary or trying to get on. Good luck getting on safely, getting off safely, or without taking a couple of extra loops or ten.
So, how does one use a New England Rotary? On a wing and a prayer. Better yet, take a different route. You'll live longer.
(Disclaimer: all bets are off for BMW owners. They make their own rules and have special names all their own.)