April 2nd 2013 |
The Gentleman’s Guide to the Mini Roundabout
The Mini Roundabout. The ultimate battle between man, machine, and circle of white paint in the middle of the road.
We at Socked view the mini roundabout not as an obstruction or a nuisance to sensible driving, but as an opportunity to demonstrate our gentlemanly conduct to the world, one driver at a time.
We have a special interest in this very British of road features: Our Applied Mathematics tutor at college – a man who routinely wore checked flared trousers and a sensible cardigan to work – claimed to have been one of the inventors of the device back in the days when he was in the employ of Satan, Prince of Darkness. We trust that there will be a very special circle of Hell waiting for him, with long traffic queues (Warning: Applied maths joke approaching) in a frictionless vaccum.
As much as the driver dislikes the mini roundabout, there are no excuses for disobeying the rules of the road. No matter how thick the paint, a mini roundabout should not be used as a launching ramp for your car. You are not a character in the popular television series The Dukes of Hazzard, and that’s how you break things. Fine if you break your car. Not fine if you break other people.
Even if it was installed by some sort of car-hating maniac, the mini roundabout should be treated like any other road junction. Give way to traffic approaching from your right, signal your intentions, and move through the junction as safely as possible. If you have hands free (for example, if your chauffeur is driving), a polite wave to other road users always hits the spot. Try not to spill your cocktail.
However, the concept of the mini-roundabout has one fatal flaw: The Three-Way Approach. If three drivers reach a mini-roundabout simultaneously all intending to turn right, there develops a stand-off that is unique to Britishness where everybody is too polite to pull out first. In extreme cases, this stand-off can go on for quite some time, and I was once trapped for three days fearful of committing some dreadful motoring faux-pas.
Clearly, some sort of process is required to ensure that this potentially embarrassing train of events doesn’t happen. In some areas, local councils use a concept called “traffic lights” to control the movement of cars, but they are an Abomination Unto The Lord, and we doubt they will catch on.
Instead, we recommend a gentlemanly way of settling the issue, such as offering the other drivers out for a duel, or, if you have an aversion to blood and death: Rock, Scissors, Paper. The true gentleman uses the secret gentleman’s version: Rock, Scissors, Paper, Rocket Launcher. The Rocket Launcher always wins.
Drive on, sir!