Murrant’s Rant: Social traffic

Originally published on October 14, 2015

You might not have noticed, but there are no stop-signs in a roundabout.  It’s one of the great things about roundabouts.  You don’t have to stop unless it’s really necessary.  I love that – which is why I’m always flummoxed when the car ahead of me comes to a complete stop and looks both ways before entering the one-way roundabout.  You can see for a hundred yards before you get there if you have to stop or not.

Stopping before the roundabout when there is nothing coming is mildly annoying, but stopping in the roundabout is grounds for public shaming.  Why would you stop in the roundabout?  To let another car in?  We’re all driving in circles trying to get out, and you stop to let someone in?  That’s so nice.  The well-oiled machine that is the roundabout grinds to an abrupt halt because someone is being nice.  There’s no niceness allowed in the roundabout.

But we excel at being nice.  We’re just so darned conscientious, especially on the roads. Like when the driver ahead of me on Prince Street slams on his brakes to let somebody pull out into traffic – not unlike stopping in a roundabout.  So what if he causes a four car pile up?  He’s just being polite.  Ah, but then my anger melts away when I see that bouncy Jack Russel terrier with his little paws on the wheel; like he was driving.  What a friendly little scamp, so cute.   Not distracting at all.  Like a furry, thumbless, hyper caffeinated, miniature copilot.

And the girl behind me – I can’t really blame her for nearly rear-ending me.  Clearly my brake lights weren’t bright enough to distract her from the important message she was typing on her phone.  At least I know the Jack Russel wasn’t texting … no thumbs.