Reversepilgrims Blog

a northwest family moves to the UK

Roundabout instructions August 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — reversepilgrims @ 3:32 pm

One of my new friends gave me a book entitled “The Official Highway Code”. There was no doubt in my mind that she was trying to tell me something. Actually, I was very grateful for the help. I’ve heard from other ex-pats that even though I have a year to get a UK license, I should start studying and sign up for a few driving lessons if I hope to pass the test. Can you say ‘awkward’? I’ve wished that I could start my life over at 15 on occasion, but this was not the part of the teenage experience I had hoped to re-live. I put up with my creepy Drivers Ed teacher for eight weeks and passed my test with flying colors, thank you very much. But, then again, there were no roundabouts in my little hometown. Come to think of it, we had to go to the neighboring town to check off the “merging” and “parallel parking” portion of the test.

I flipped immediately to the section on roundabouts. This portion of the UK driving experience, approximately 95% (I may be exaggerating slightly here), has me baffled. Some people signal, some people don’t, and even though we are all turning to the left, some people signal right…it’s all very confusing.

So here it is, the official word on driving in roundabouts. My favorite part is where it says “…be aware that they (other drivers) may not be signalling correctly or at all.” Thanks for the tip.

This photo is of the classic roundabout with arrows showing the basic traffic movement through it. This is nice. It is quite logical. The only problem is that less than half of the roundabouts are this straightforward. There are exceptions everywhere and it’s hard to see the painted arrows showing which lane goes where when there are cars constantly running over them.

So you feel OK after a while, until you run into roundabouts like this one—which look and feel a bit like it’s your turn on the Wheel of Fortune. You won’t find directional information, N, S, E or W, on the signs anywhere, they just expect you to know the name of the town that is in the direction you want to go. Um, can I buy a vowel?

I also love this helpful section in The Official Highway Code on multiple roundabouts. Need I say more?

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