Apparently, a new roundabout intersection in Willoughby has been going viral after footage of confused drivers going the wrong way made its way online to TikTok. Considering how simple the use of roundabouts seems to be, you might think I would find the story surprising.
Nope. It brought to mind my own recent roundabout experiences, as well as my favourite traffic-calming device story so far.
A while back, I was exploring Qualicum Beach when I came up to a roundabout, expecting nothing out of the ordinary, with only one car in front of me and no others coming.
The other driver entered, and moved slowly to the right, then began to circle around. I followed. Then it happened. The other vehicle came to a full stop (reminder, no other cars in sight) and sat, the driver seemingly brainlocked.
Another car approached behind me and we all sat there. Then another car came from the other direction and waited to enter, correctly yielding to the one already in the roundabout. Except it was still stopped and didn’t move. I honked (lightly and politely, at least that’s what I told myself) and this seemed to shake the other driver’s brainlock and they finally moved around and then exited.
I’d never seen that before. Stopping in a roundabout. Then about a week later, same roundie, same result. Car came to a complete stop after making it most of the way around. Bizarre.
I shared this tale with colleagues, one of whom easily topped it with their own Qualicum Beach roundabout story.
He told tale of approaching the traffic circle, only to watch a vehicle ahead never lose speed and simply proceed straight through, gaining some decent air, Dukes of Hazzard style, and landing on the other side.
Oh, for some dash cam footage of that.
The discussion led to talk of driving pet peeves. We all have them.
As a younger Richard Petty wannabe, my ability to be irritated by my fellow drivers (and the NSFW words that flowed freely when encountering these situations) was much greater.
Now, no longer piloting sports cars and with many years of driving around safely so as to protect the kids in the back, I’m a little more mellow. But there will always be things that rile me up.
Here’s some, in no particular order:
Drivers on their phones. Despite all the safety campaigns, not a day goes by that I don’t see someone texting away, oblivious to the green light in front of them, or wandering into my lane on the highway.
Drivers with dogs on their lap. The tiny little pooches are bad enough. The mid-sized ones? Insanity. First, it’s distracting. Second, it’s unsafe for the animals. Don’t do this.
Not signalling. Don’t make a lane change right in front of me without signalling your intentions. I’d include the ‘driving with your signal on’ under this umbrella, but I have a soft right turn on the way to my own home, and sometimes make it a full block or two before noticing my signal is still on. My apologies to the confused paparazzi following me home each day.
Tailgaters. You’re not getting anywhere any faster by weaving in and out of traffic and riding someone’s bumper to force them over. In the old days, you might have gotten a nasty brake check from the less-mellow me. Just back off.
Not actually driving, but related: Drivers who can’t fit their vehicles inside a simple parking spot. It’s always so much fun to come back to your car in the parking lot, and have to climb through the window because somone has parked six millimetres from your own vehicle. Or find a little dent in your door.
Merging tendencies. Use the zipper method, and all will go well. Don’t get angry at someone who (properly) proceeds up a lane to the front, where you’re supposed to merge alternately. Don’t be the person to steadfastly refuses to let these people squeeze in.
Driving with loose gravel in the back of your truck, or other items precariously tied down. Too many rock chips to count over the years have hit my window.
Litterbugs. If there was one thing that could spark me to road rage, it would be this. From the fools who toss cigarettes out the window in the tinder-dry summer to the others who treat the roadways as giant garbage cans, please stop.
Excessive speeding. No explanation necessary. On the highway, it’s bad enough. In residential neighbourhoods, it makes me want to put out an endless string of spike belts. Worse are the speeding drivers in jacked-up 4x4s, with bull testicles hanging from the back, who think they are immune to snow and ice on the roads in the winter.
Excessive slowness. No explanation necessary either, except for no good reason it bothers me when people putt-putt through schools zones outside of school zone hours. Or when people fail to pay attention on extended left-turn arrows and I miss the turn by one car.
Night drivers who don’t use their lights. They have the running lights on and their dashboards are lit up – but they don’t realize they have no brake lights.
Speed bump scaredy cats. Unless you’re driving an ’84 Chevy Citation, your precious car isn’t going to fall apart if you go more than 1.5 km/h over a parking lot speed bump.
I’ve probably missed a few. What are your driving pet peeves? I’d love to hear some of your own.