Here in Massachusetts, particularly in my neck of the woods (near Cape Cod), we have a lot of rotaries. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a rotary is, let me explain. It’s a a circular shaped road junction where the traffic moves in one direction around a central island. I’ve also heard rotaries referred to as traffic circles and roundabouts, but around here, they’re rotaries. For someone that’s not experienced in driving their way through a rotary, they can be vicious – trust me, I know frirst hand. I live about 30 seconds from one and drive through it daily.
Keep in mind that I proudly live amongst some of the worst drivers in the country (I am a masshole afterall), so this is definitley more of a survival guide than a how-to, but it should help you either way.
Rotaries actually keep the traffic moving a lot faster than conventional intersections with traffic lights & even though they may get backed up a little at rush hour, you’re not going to have to sit there long before it’s your turn to go.
The most important thing that people need to realize when approaching a rotary is that they are ONE WAY. I’ve witnessed first hand cars going in the wrong direction inside the rotary. Yes, really – three times as a matter of fact.
1. When approaching a rotary, you should yield to oncoming traffic inside the rotary. You are not required to stop! Only stop if there is no clearance for you to get inside the rotary – if there is no oncoming traffic inside the rotary and you stop upon approaching it – you’re probably going to get rear ended. If there is no oncoming traffic, go!
It’s important to yield to the people already inside the rotary, though, because they have the right of way.
2. Once there is space for you to get in – GO. Literally, step on it and go. Don’t sit there & wait for a bigger gap in traffic because chances are, it’s not going to happen anytime soon and you’re really going to piss off the drivers in line behind you. Take the chance you’re given when it comes along and GO!
3. Once you’re inside the rotary, stay on the outside and hop off at your exit. Remember how the Griswold’s got stuck inside that rotary in London for hours? Well, if you move over to the inside of the rotary, you will, too.
4. If you can figure out what exit you need to get off at before you enter the rotary, that’s going to save you a headache for sure, but in case you miss your exit, DON’T STOP under any circumstances. If you do, you will get hit – it’s almost a guarantee. Just go back around the rotary and catch it the next time. Sure, we’re all going to point and laugh at you if we see you, but it’s better than causing an accident, right? Oh, and as a sidenote, if you’re in MA, feel free to skip using your blinker when exiting the rotary - none of us use it, either.
5. Watch out for others. Some people just barrel into the rotary without yielding and if you’re not paying attention, yes, you’re going to get hit. I see it every day…..and I know that’s hard to believe about us massholes, but it’s true.
It’s really not rocket science, you know. Just be careful and may the force be with you.