April 27, 2014

Send 'em back to driving school

Years ago, while my family was stationed overseas, we traveled to Paris.  I had the unique and horrifying experience of navigating this traffic nightmare in a hulking American crew cab pickup truck:

"The Place Charles de Gaulle, historically known as the Place de l'Étoile, is a large road junction in Paris, France, the meeting point of twelve straight avenues including the Champs-Élysées" - Wikipedia
Yep, TWELVE streets converge in a huge traffic circle surrounding the Arc de Triomphe.  It is one of the most well-known, and daunting, traffic circles in Europe.  We made it through unscathed, though I think we went around twice before exiting to the street we were looking for.
This successful navigation of an American land yacht, no doubt, thanks to the requirement that we take international driver training before we moved to Germany.  
For reasons I do not understand, traffic engineers in north Texas have shown a recent, and sudden, affinity for traffic circles.  They are remodeling intersections, removing 4-way stops and installing traffic circles at an alarming rate.  Alarming, because Americans don't have any experience, nor are they receiving any training, on how traffic circles (are supposed to) work.  There is no yielding, no merging - it is pure anarchy in motor vehicles.
This is the only reference to roundabouts in the Texas DMV driver handbook:
Yeah, that explains it.  No wonder all those soccer moms think that they have the right of way - entering, leaving, changing lanes.  All SUV, all the time, just stay out of their way!  Wouldn't it be great if the police, after witnessing uneducated driving habits, could not only ticket, but send those people back to re-test, making them show proficiency in the area that they got a ticket for?

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