The oldest roundabout? French. As if they did not already hold the record for the country with the most roundabouts in the world (one every 21 kilometers), the cousins from beyond the Alps can boast of the longest-lived: that of the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris. At this intersection 12 avenues converge. sadly famous for the high number of accidents, so much so that new drivers are not allowed to circulate there.
The most complex roundabout? the so-called Magic Roundabout in Swindon, UK. A real asphalt labyrinth made up of a total of seven roundabouts, with a different circulation in each of them. The smartest? Chinese. And here we must explain. The main advantage of roundabouts over crossroads with traffic lights is that vehicles don’t stop, they just run. Stop & go eliminated, more fluid traffic, reduction of pollution. But if the intersection is also occupied by pedestrians, the system loses efficiency, because the vehicles still have to stop. To overcome this problem, an elevated pedestrian ring has been built in the Lujiazui roundabout in Shanghai, connecting the nearest metro station to the main skyscrapers and places of interest in the area.
The largest roundabout in the world? It is located in Malaysia, south of Kuala Lumpur: that of Putrajaya. It occupies an area of 4,500 square meters and takes advantage of the space inside, even hosting a 5-star hotel, the secondary residence of the country’s president and the botanical gardens of Perdana.
Mileage, complex, intelligent: there are all types of roundabouts. But they all have one thing in common: the doubts they generate in drivers’ heads. In every part of the world. According to an Axa study conducted in Spain, two out of three Spaniards do not know what the correct behavior to follow. Who has the right of way? Which lane do you have to drive in, inside or outside? How are arrows used? Questions answered by Seat, the Spanish brand of the German Volkswagen Group. But the indications apply everywhere, even in Italy. So let’s see what needs to be done.
1) Reduce the speed. Entering a roundabout is one of the most delicate moments: according to Axa research, 54% of accidents occur right there. The first recommendation is to moderate your speed. In countries such as the UK, Ireland or Australia, it is also necessary to remember that entry and exit are on the left.
2) Give way. The second golden rule is to give priority to vehicles that already circulate inside the roundabout. Only in the absence of the specific signal give the right of way in correspondence with the entries in the roundabout, the precedence of whoever enters. If you are not sure that you have enough time to enter safely, we recommend that you wait until the maneuver is possible at zero risk of accident.
3) Choose the correct lane. In the case of roundabouts with several lanes, it is generally recommended to drive in the outermost lane, to avoid having to change lanes and exit safely. However, in the case of a left or a U turn, the roundabout should be approached as if it were a left turn, i.e. taking you into the inside lane if possible. Before taking the exit, the right arrow will then be activated sufficiently in advance to move safely into the outside lane, making sure not to cut the road to other vehicles. Assistants such as Lane Assist give valuable help to keep inside the lane. Thanks to a front camera capable of recognizing the lines, Lane Assist warns us if our trajectory is likely to take us out of the lane, explains Marc Seguer, head of safety assistants at Seat.
4) One more turn. Approaching the exit, you must take the outside lane (on the right), signaling the maneuver using the right arrow. The car that circulates outside always has priority. If at the time of changing lanes, this is occupied by another vehicle, the advice is clear: go through the roundabout again, until we can safely move to the right to exit.
5) Never without arrows. The rules for using direction indicators are among the most confusing points. First of all, activation depends on the trajectory that the vehicle intends to travel: if you have to turn right or go straight, you must always activate the right arrow before your exit and, in the case of entry and initial travel in the left lane of the roundabout. due to heavy traffic, to change lanes inside the roundabout and move to the outside lane to prepare for the exit. In this case, no indicator should be activated at the entrance to the roundabout, nor to indicate the route. If the vehicle intends to use the roundabout instead to turn left or make a U-turn, it is necessary to activate the left arrow at the entrance to the roundabout, keeping it active as long as you are driving in the left (central) lane of the roundabout. Before taking the exit, the right direction indicator must be activated sufficiently in advance to move into the outside lane, paying attention to oncoming vehicles, and exit the roundabout.
New technologies help improve the visibility of turn signals. For example, the Seat Tarraco incorporates dynamic intermittent. Different segments of light that are activated progressively from the center to the outside. A broad movement that allows the rest of the drivers to perceive the vehicle’s direction more clearly, making a concrete contribution to road safety, explains Magnolia Paredes, head of development, lighting and testing of the Spanish manufacturer.
6) Above all, stay calm. Roundabouts often test the patience and coolness of motorists, but remember that it is forbidden to use the horn to express one’s nervousness or to complain about the maneuvers of other road users. The horn only allowed to alert in the event of a risk of an accident.
February 17, 2021 (change February 17, 2021 | 12:42)
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