The Roundabout


Who’s turn it is?  Really!

Now, I’ve been coming to Oman for a little over 3 years.  There is a strong British influence here, as can be evidenced by the presence of the roundabout.

Quoting from Wikipedia, “The widespread use of roundabouts began when British engineers re-engineered circular intersections during the mid-1960s and Frank Blackmore invented the mini roundabout to overcome its limitations of capacity and for safety issues.”  I’m not totally sure the have engineered all the safety issues out of the roundabouts.

So driving a roundabout is a little scary for a guy from the U.S. where roundabouts are much larger, normally called ‘Loop 610’ or something similar.  It can scare the living daylights out of you the first time you come up to one.  In Muscat, the car on the inside of the roundabout (if there are two lanes) has the right of way when exiting.  Key point, don’t drive next to anyone if you are on the outside lane.  Leave enough room for that inside car to exit, and don’t count on signals.

When I was in the Netherlands, I ran into roundabouts there as well, but the rules were a little different.  For one, you had to look our for bicycles.  They have the right of way no matter what.  Next, You can’t exit from the inside lane, only the outside.  So if you can’t merge to the outside lane this go round, you make a circle and try it again.   I was on one particular roundabout for 3  rounds before I could get off the thing.  It was fun, although I did get a little dizzy.

The roundabout is an interesting concept though.  It’s designed to help move traffic along at intersections, and it does just that.   Just don’t get stuck going around in circles.

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