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Or How To Drive A Roundabout Without Sideswiping Half The State.



Let’s praise the newest traffic separator sweeping the nation.

This British import will be bigger than the Beatles.

Not a stop sign, not a traffic light, the roundabout is a two lane puzzle designed to deliver drivers any direction they want.

Or just go in a circle all day.

Not high tech with solar panel power, not law enforcement friendly with traffic cameras, the roundabout works its magic with every means of transport from goat cart to Maserati.

The way drivers adapt to these Arizona roundabouts will make you wonder if it’s the goat herders driving Maseratis.

Before you stop reading because no American could possible give advice on how to drive a roundabout, your gentle boomerpdx blogger drove two thousand miles in England where multi-lane roundabouts are common.

Their version of a freeway even had a roundabout.

And I did it going the opposite direction from the other side of the car in the wrong lane, which is normal in England.

Add wife and kids and you can imagine the excitement of flying into those circles in a no-name rental car with a go kart engine.

With no crashes, scrapes, or fender benders, I came home an expert with an advanced degree in roundaboutology.

So there’s that. Now there’s this.

1) Approach the roudabout at a reduced speed, though not slow like you would a stop sign. Try not to stop.

From a distance watch the cars on the opposite side of the circle and the outlet to the left.

Cars taking the first available exit generally stay in the outside lane; every other car slides to the inside lane.

That’s how it’s supposed to work. It doesn’t mean the inside car won’t cut you off when you enter. They will, so be sharp.

2) The entrance to the circle shows a yield sign, different than a stop sign everywhere but California where every traffic sign means roll through.

Stop at the yield sign and you’ll back traffic up for miles where every driver thinks you’re an idiot.

Roll into the circle with your exit strategy planned out.

Miss that exit and you’re a sitting duck for everyone entering unless you drop to the inner lane and floor it.

People in the pedestrian crossing don’t appreciate dodging hot rodders.

3) If you screw up your first roundabout in Upper Sedona, don’t worry. You’ll have another chance a block away, and another just beyond.

Who thought of putting traffic circles so close together? City planners who didn’t drive in England.

The roundabout is culturally divisive. You can tell this by the layers of rubber and skids across the inside curbs.

In America it’s all about “ready, shoot, aim.” Just point your truck in the right direction and let’er rip.

What was that bump and tire chirp? Probably some lame tourist who doesn’t know how to power slide a roundabout.

To our homesick English allies visiting America: Head to Upper Sedona’s roundabout carnival.

You’ll leave feeling a whole lot better, even superior.


About David Gillaspie


  1. I think I will leave roundabouts to the experts. I seem to remember seeing some briefly when we drove south from the Grand Canyon but I may be mistaken.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Got my round about training in England with under powered cars. At least here things happen when you floor it, which is what makes round abouts so much fun.

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