I don’t know if you’ve been down to the Bass Pro Shop/Margaritaville hotel complex in Bossier recently, but when I visited it recently, I saw something that blew my mind: a traffic-circle. Seems that, with the addition of the new hotel/casino down there, Bass Pro Shop had to build a traffic-circle in order to ease the flow of traffic. Either that, or they would have had to install a four-way stop, or maybe traffic-lights. But they didn’t. They chose to construct a traffic-circle and in doing so, they have restored my faith in America. Traffic circles rock!
Or rather, they roll; they roll the traffic along very smoothly, very safely and very uncompicatedly. (I think I just made up that last word) And before you go getting your knickers in a knot about how everyone hates “the Alexandria roundabout”, hang on a second and consider this. If you have a law which allows traffic to turn right on red, then you should have way more traffic circles, because exactly the same principle applies: the principle of common sense. In the case of the turn right on red rule, you simply look left and if your entry onto the roadway is clear, off with you. Same principle, the exact same principle applies to the traffic circle. As you approach the circle, you slow down, you look left to see if someone’s on the circle. If there’s no one on the circle to your immediate left, fire away. It’s all so smooth, so civilized and safe. It’s much, safer than traffic lights or, the Russian roulette that you have play at stop signs. Just remember, if someone ploughs through a red light, or fails to give due access at a stop sign, he’s going to T-bone you at high-speed.
However, that same person, let’s call it a woman this time for the sake of gender equality, if she’s on the traffic circle, she’s not going to be traveling very fast, because you can’t. So collisions on the traffic circles are 94% less likely to be fatal. (84% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Or is it 62%? Whatever.) The point is, the vehicles coming on to the circle are traveling at relatively low speed, and the vehicles already on the circle are also just chugging along, so accidents on traffic circles are usually just fender-benders. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about here – for once.
Would it be safe to introduce them here on a widespread basis? Are you kidding me? Of course! Ye already have ‘turn right on red’. Other countries would think that ‘turn right on red’ would be an invitation to vehicular carnage. But not here. No, because, basically you trust most drivers to be sensible enough to use their noggin and yield to the left. Fair play to ye!
If I were to single out one thing however that does drive me crazy…“Why can’t he just leave it at that? Eh? Why can’t he just give us a nice compliment and then just shut his big fat gob?” Is that what you’re thinking? Hmm? Well, just to prove you wrong then, I will put a sock in it. I will shut the front door. So, there you have it. Congratulations good people of America. You have given the world the turn right on red principle and the world should look on and admire. See? I didn’t even mention the parallel parking now, did I?
Brian O’ Nuanain runs “Across The Pond And Beyond”, a company that organizes international vacations. You can reach him at acrossthepondandbeyond.com