Dave Van Buskirk pic

Ever notice at our roundabout in Franklin County that people stop before going through?

I have had the person in front of me do it so many times I thought I needed to write about it.

After living in the U.K. for three years, I learned the rules quickly. Brits have a way of letting you know when your driving etiquette is bad. They like to flash their lights at you when you make a mistake rather than blowing their horns.

First let me say, the roundabout is supposed to allow for a safer, quicker traffic flow. They work very well in the U.K. because they have used them for years.

You can imagine that if we had a four-way stop sign or a traffic signal how long it might take to get through the intersection.

The roundabout allows you to only need stop if somebody is coming around ahead of you.

And of course, who goes first at a four way stop?

Some guy in a hurry always thinks it is his turn, regardless of who got there first. Or, since we are so polite here in Franklin County, each person signals for the other to go, but neither wants to be rude, so you have a standoff at the four-way intersection.

If you are like me, the yellow light always recognizes my car and turns yellow as I approach the intersection. My wife really believes that, since I always catch the red light at intersections.

Anyway, roundabouts really do work well if you know the rules.

Since it appears to me that many don’t, I shall try to explain the rules as written by the Brits.

The first rule is you should only stop when another car has entered the roundabout before you and is not turning at your exit.

For the record, that is why there is a YIELD sign not a STOP sign there.

Imagine that!

Second, and I know this will be a tough one since I have noticed that a lot of people in Franklin County have not figured out what the turn signals are used for. I actually had a neighbor I was giving a ride one day who asked me what the ticking noise was when I had my turn signal on.

Second rule is if you are going straight through the intersection, you need not turn on a signal. That way the people know you are heading straight through.

Third rule, if you are going to turn left at the intersection, turn your left turn signal on until you pass the second exit, then turn your right signal on to let the people know you are going to exit at that turn.

If you are going to turn right at the intersection, simply turn on your right turn signal and YIELD if a car is coming.

Notice I did not say STOP.

The simplest way to look at this is to think if you are going to turn left at the intersection, turn on your left signal until you approach the exit, and if you are going to turn right, turn on your right signal as you approach.

I think we can all agree that turn signals are a good thing at traffic lights and stop signs.

I also think we would agree that good communication to other drivers is good and promotes a safer environment.

So, give it a try and see how much faster the traffic flows and how much better you feel about using the roundabout.

As a side note from one of my previous articles, Sak-N-Pak in Estill Springs still has the cheapest gas prices in Franklin County at $2.39. Everyone else seems to be stuck on $2.45. Thank you Sak-N-Pak.

Dave Van Buskirk is a former Franklin County commissioner.