Friday, July 12, 2013



According to the Arizona Department of Transportation ("ADOT"), a roundabout is a one-way circular intersection without traffic signal equipment in which traffic flows around a center island. 

The modern roundabout functions with yield control at the entry points, and gives priority to vehicles within the roundabout.

Roundabouts keep traffic moving through an intersection, so the potential for crashes in the center are diminished. Drivers move at a slower speed, usually 25 mph. 

According to ADOT, modern roundabouts reduce accidents by 40% to 60%, reduce injury accidents by 80% and fatal accidents by as much as 90%. In addition, eliminating a traffic signal saves the city money on installations, maintenance, and electricity.

I live near the first two roundabouts placed in service in Phoenix. They started with a disadvantage because you have a four-lane street going into a one-lane circle at a major highway intersection, with a one-lane bridge crossing the highway.

The right answer would have been to make the bridge and the circles two lanes, and I am sure that was not done due to cost.

There are social networking pages related to these circles, if you want to read what the residents think.

The success of a roundabout is based on two assumptions that AZDOT has made.

(1) That traffic keeps moving. It doesn't. At the roundabouts near my home that involve the highway exits and the frontage roads, there is always some idiot in the roundabout (they have the right of way at this point) who will STOP because he sees a car on the main street. Of course, the car on the street also stops and they look at each other for a few moments while traffic backs up.

(2) That drivers move at a slower speed. They don't. even though these roundabouts are posted at 25 mph, drivers in Arizona, while not very bright, have lead feet, so after stopping unnecessarily, they'll take off a fifty, only to slam on their brakes ten feet later for the next idiot who can't navigate the circle.

I have an idea-let's take all the people who cannot navigate a traffic circle and put their heads under a running lawn mower!


  1. I think a lawn mower is extreme.

    Too bad the city couldn't sponsor a class on maneuvering the traffic circle, since it is a problem. However...

    My experience with bad drivers is that they don't KNOW they are bad drivers. It would be lovely if the city could make it voluntary for people to attend a class on maneuvering the traffic circle. However, no one would sign up. Everyone thinks THE OTHER GUY is the problem and needs the class. So, there you go.

    1. Yes, Robin, I know it's extreme...but extreme measures are called for here!

      I kid, of course. Most of the time when I am ranting to the extreme it's for the humor effect...not sure if readers are amused, but I amuse myself!

      I saw a comedian once who told a joke, nobody laughed, and he said we were all too dumb to get the joke.

      Then he said, "I'll do it one more time for the stupid people and you know who you are..."

      He paused, and said, "Maybe you DON'T know who you are!"

      I believe you are correct and this applies to bad drivers as well!

      Plus we all have lapses in attention that's an unfair world!

      This "series" is mainly aimed at things I find funny, but I really do not let too much get to me.

      It took fifty-two years, but I do not sweat the small stuff.

      And like the book says, it's all small stuff!


  2. I think you should save the lawn mower for the idiots that think that traffic circles in this day and age are a good idea.

    1. CW-were you looking at my notes for my next post?

      Good point-they used to have them in South jersey and have converted them to lights. They work when there is light traffic, but simple cannot handle volume.

      When they were installed at the intersection near me, it was desert. Since then, there are two major corporate office complexes and two major shopping complexes, all right there.

      Time to switch to lights...

  3. The effectiveness of 'roundabouts' is directly related to the intelligence and motor skills (pun intended) of the drivers using it.

    If I'm to believe STMc and his assessment of Airheadzoanians (ha, SP?), then 'roundabouts' should probably be outlawed.

    I live in a resort town (on the north shore of Lake Tahoe) and we have a 'roundabout' at the bottom of a steep grade where one major highway feed into another at a 3-way. On the off season times (like during the week) when there are no tourists around, the local Californians and Nevadans seem to be able to navigate it pretty smoothly and the wait is a minimum, but on the weekends when the place fills up with folks from the cities, it is a place to avoid at all costs. In the grand scheme of things, this was not a very good idea. but then I've yet to see any DOT that utilizes 'good ideas'.

  4. In response to Robin's comment, I know I am a terrible driver. I would hate to drive behind me--especially in a roundabout. I'm lucky I don't live in Arizona or my head would be in a lawn mower right now.