I read in the paper recently about a controversial new roundabout at an intersection in suburban Woodbury (well, more like where suburbia meets rolling farmland, which seems like an odd place for a roundabout, but apparently it's very busy during rush hour). Accident rates are higher now than when there was just a plain old stop sign at the intersection. The article said that there are basically two types of drivers contributing to accidents: the aggressive ones who don't yield at the edge of the roundabout to traffic already in it and the timid ones who drive slowly and aren't sure which lane to be in.
Sunday morning, a letter to the editor claimed that the new roundabout is too small, at least compared to the large ones in France. And I said to Steve, "I want to see this roundabout they're talking about." Because Steve and I have driven through our fair share of roundabouts, too, in Ireland, and we thought they were pretty smart once you figure them out. You can get through an intersection without having to stop and start (except for the one-time yield), even in rush hour. I figured, what can be so hard about this Woodbury roundabout?
So we loaded up the car, and we investigated. We drove through the roundabout not once but four times, each from a different direction, each time taking a different turn to get out. Our concensus? This roundabout is a piece of cake! It's not too small. It's very clearly marked. Even if you get in the wrong lane, you can usually still get out — and if you can't, you can just drive another loop around the middle until you figure out where you are.
After our roundabout adventure, we drove to a little park in downtown Afton, where we had a picnic lunch. Everyone had a good time ... even Ben, who napped on a blanket in the warm, afternoon breeze.