Negotiating Traffic in a Roundabout Way

We are all familiar with the four way stop. Each vehicle stops at the sign and the first one there is the first to go. This works unless someone doesn’t do as they should which results in horns being blasted and digits being shown.

At least that is better than a full set of traffic lights. Yes, half the time you can drive straight through without stopping but the other half of the time you might be stopped for minutes, wasting fuel and time.


Is there an alternative to this? Something that is better for the environment and also quicker than waiting for a green light? I am glad you asked because yes, yes there is. It is called the roundabout. What is a roundabout I hear you ask? Imagine you are driving down a road which would normally be a four way stop but rather than having signs, you have a round object in the middle of the road. To get past the object you would have to drive around it. You do this on the same side of the road as you drive, and obviously if there is a vehicle already going around the roundabout, you would wait until you could safely take your turn.

Is it kinda to the environment? Well, you know it is. A lot less time waiting with your vehicle engine running. If the roundabout has four roads leading off from it but only two are busy, you waste hardly anytime and therefore use less fuel. That has to be better for the environment.

Small roundabouts are now appearing in new sub divisions everywhere, and most people are negotiating them without any problem. After all, if the road is only one lane, there really isn’t anything to be confused about. So why are we not seeing more of the circular things? Is it because it is cheaper and easier to put in traffic lights? It might be easier but lights require electricty and if there is a power outage, a roundabout continues to work. A four way stop would be a lot cheaper to install but again you have the negative environment impact. The only downside to installing a roundabout is the time that the intersection is blocked. It may take more time but surely a little more time, and money, is worth it to improve the overall flow of traffic as well as making our city greener?

Of course if you live in Paris, you have the Arc De Triomphe which has probably the most famous roundabout in the world.

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