Friday, November 25, 2011

Traffic 101 - The Roundabout

So you live in South Africa and you have a valid driver's licence. Not the one you bought threw a friend of a friend who does not want his name known. This means you can go on the road and risk the life of others because you have passed the exam and the "pass-out" drive. You drive on the left hand side because you have figured out that it actually works better because all the other vehicles also do the same and it was actually mentioned in your driving training too. Then one day you reach something which was never covered in your training or pass-out, it is called the roundabout or traffic circle. You see familiar signs, like the arrows painted on the road and the white lines, but you miss a few things like a stop sign and/or traffic light. All of a sudden this new road layout confuses the crap out of you and you have to make quick and intelligent decisions in a fraction of seconds before you cause a major pile-up. What do you do?  

Below is a picture of just one of the many roundabouts in South Africa. Strangely enough South Africans find negotiating their way around one of these very difficult. The fact that the arrows on the road actually tells you in which line to be on your approach depending on which direction you want to go once you exit the roundabout, does not seem to help either. So, here is a little test (with the answers at the bottom) for you to see if you have mastered the roundabout......

You are approaching the Roundabout from the south (lanes A or B) and you want to do the following:

1) You want to go straight and exit the roundabout at D

a) You make sure that you are in lane A well before you get to the roundabout. Once there you keep on the outside lane of the circle and you go around and exit at D
b) You take any lane (A or B), you cross whenever you want with no indication to and make sure that you end up at the exit in lane D
c) You do the same as in (b), but you try to justify your moves by using your indicators.

2) You want to turn right and exit at E.

a) You make sure that you are in lane B, you indicate that you will be turning right, you stay in the inside lane of the circle and move over to lane E as soon as you have completed your half circle.
b) You get into lane B, you first indicate left, then right and as soon as you reach lane E you indicate left again and exit.
c) You stay in lane A, stay on the outside lane of the circle, but use your indicators the way you see fit to get to lane E.

3) You want to turn left and exit at C.

a) You make sure that you are in lane A, indicate that you are turning left and proceed cautiously.
b) You stay in lane B, wait until the last minute, indicate left and swerve over to make sure you don't miss your exit at C.
c) You approach from lane A, save your indicator for later use and turn left when you get to exit C.

Because this is such a hard topic for many drivers to understand, "right of way" was not included in this exercise and will be covered in the next lesson. Hope you've figured out what the correct answers were.

Drive Safe

(Answers (1.a, 2.a, 3.a)

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