As Matt and I were on our way back from the grocery store this afternoon we almost got hit while traveling through a rotary. Sometimes referred to as traffic circles or roundabouts, rotaries in the northeast are a special test of any motorist’s skills.
The rules of the road, at least here in Boston, indicate to ‘yield to the traffic in the rotary’ but unfortunately most people take that as a loose term and unless you are smack dab in front of them when they are approaching the circle, it is anyone’s guess as to just what ‘in the rotary’ even means.
I personally take it to mean if a person is more than half way around and on an approach to cross the place I am entering from, then I yield. If someone has just entered the circle from the next counterclockwise approach and not going to impact my entrance, I enter. To me this seems logical and has saved me from multiple accidents over the years.
The problem of course is that logic seems to escape most motorists, so when I am already in the circle I have to be on guard because their definition of yield may be just slightly different than mine. A good example of this is someone who not only does not yield but doesn’t even look to their left as they approach but rather, simply blasts on through because, well, clearly they should always have the right of way.
That is what almost happened today but the SUV came to an almost brake screeching halt just in time and we proceeded to exit the rotary, shaking our heads, with their front bumper mere feet from my door.
After it happened, we sparked up a conversation about how rotaries might have been a little more challenging back in the days of the horse drawn buggy. Picture one horse T-boning another as their carriage careens out of control toward the circle. With so much power the accidentee would never know what hit him. Poor horse.
Of course just like in today’s times -- ‘It wasn’t my fault, the brakes didn’t stop me fast enough’ -- we both imagined that the out of control buggy driver would surely blame the accident on part of the vehicle itself, saying to the guy with the broken wooden wheel and grain spilling from the back of the wagon --
“Yaw hawse is wicked retahded!”
Of course I had to correct Matt and remind him this was back in the old days when people still spoke in proper English here in Boston; I assured him the crazy driver would have more likely said --
“Thine hawse is wicked retahded!”
As we approached home and pulled into the driveway we started to consider some of the other road rage phrases that might be yelled out from the bench of one wagon to another back in the day. Stuff like --
“Stop chiselin’ that lettah ta ya Motha and drive!”
“Hey fuckah, how about puttin’ both hands awn tha reigns!”
One of my personal favorite things that I frequently utter to myself or whoever else happens to be in the car with me when I am behind someone weaving all over the road is “Go back to the baah!” Of course, in the old days they were more likely yelling “Take thyself back to Ye Old Tavehn!”
Thanks for the screen shot Google Maps.