To the Editor: Roundabout Clarification

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Thanks for the informative article “Revisiting Round-abouts,” in the August edition. It should make our local traffic circles a bit safer.

The article does, however, contain one bit of information that is inaccurate and potentially dangerous. The offending paragraph reads as follows:

“If there are already cars in the roundabout, stop and let them proceed until a safe opening occurs. This is different than a highway entrance ramp, where you can proceed with the expectation that cars will get out of your way.”

Actually, the exact opposite is true: when you’re on a highway entrance ramp, a car already in the adjacent travel lane has the right-of-way, and you are required to adjust your speed, and the timing of your merge, accordingly. Indeed, that car may not be able to “get out of your way” by moving one lane over, because there’s too much traffic in that other lane.

Granted, a driver often will move one lane over, where traffic allows, to make it easier for you to merge into the travel lane. But that’s done purely as a courtesy. 

Unfortunately, some people seem to have misinterpreted this common practice, as they negotiate entrance ramps as if the cars in the travel lane “have to get out of (their) way.” Perhaps this is one reason why so many accidents occur near entrance ramps.

W. Gorman
Crozet

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