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October 1, 2009

A Redneck’s Guide to Roundabouts and How to Survive Them in Prince George

For anyone who is from the interior of the province, its not just a small shock to step into an urban center littered with roundabouts. Even when you leave the small town behind for such places as Vancouver or Toronto, they aren’t as common of a sight as on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. This is something I can readily testify to; after sitting on a bus going down a street solely formed of roundabouts, I learned some of the best grips for holding onto my luggage, to avoid having it fly across the aisle into some poor man’s face. Perhaps it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if I’d also happened to evolve an alternate pair of hands to aid in such an endeavor, from some of the looks this received.

Needless to say, upon returning home, my family and myself went on a tour-de-roundabout of the new bridge and discovered the object of “unimaginable” horror placed ever-so-neatly at the far end of it. After spending so much time “Down Under”, the mere thought of watching Prince Georgians trying to figure out how to blow through a roundabout was intriguing in and of itself.

I mean, let’s face it; more than half the people in town have so far displayed no knowledge whatsoever of how to navigate a four way stop. Roundabouts were created for places where, to put it bluntly, four way stops would never work. Anyone want to try to understand how to live with a few eight-way stops in town?

…I didn’t think so.

Sure, we drive big trucks up here, and sure, we’re not urbanites that should supposedly be “used” to such things. But I think the fault of the matter lies not in that “its not the lower mainland” here, as that we don’t want to put in the effort to change. As it is, I begin to wonder where some have learned to drive, and with others…if they ever did.

So here’s some commonsensical tips to keep in mind, for the next time you have to navigate that monstrosity on the other side of the river, created by what many seem to believe is the next generation of budding psychopaths.

1) Determine your exit before entering “Ring around the Rosy”.

I know, way to point out the obvious, but I think you’d be surprised how many would be better served by having a post-it note saying as much stuck to their forehead…at all times.

2) Driver’s in the left lane have right of way.

And by this, I mean they are fully capable of owning your rear (of either your car or of an area within your personal space) if you bugger it up in some way, shape or form, and walking away without showing any grievance with it.

3) Drivers in the right lane should be exiting the circle.

…Well?

4)     When initially entering the circle, yield to oncoming circle traffic.

Wait for them to pass…but please, don’t hesitate to join in on the game when you actually have the opening. The more players, the more fun it is. The rude gestures in your rear-view mirror will let you know if you just let such an opportune moment pass you by…as well as them.

To be more lenient, in closing, I think it’s just a matter of time for our local drivers to become pros at wheeling through circle-after-circle. And logging trucks? What about a string of banana buses? They didn’t have a problem. We won’t either.

Round and round and round we go, where we stop; no one knows!

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