Roundabout editorial had misinformation

Your recent editorial on roundabouts is timely but the information given is in-correct and is adding to the misinformation already out in the community.

For simplicity I am using right hand lane for inside lane and left hand lane for outside lane. Left and right are less likely to confuse since inside and outside lanes depending on who you speak to and where you are from, can be either or.

There is no Cayman Islands approach to roundabouts. Roundabouts are supposed to follow the rules and norms as practiced in the UK where they originated.

The biggest misconception is that if you are in the right hand lane approaching a roundabout and you are going straight on i.e. taking the second exit (or turning right, taking the third exit) you can put your foot on the gas and proceed at speed crossing the left hand lane when you are leaving the roundabout without a care in the world and complaining when someone in your left hand lane is staying in the left hand lane and continuing across your exit to their second or third exit.

The driver in the right hand lane MUST give way to the driver in the left lane (slower lane) before proceeding into their desired exit even if they are in the right hand and proper lane.

Another way of looking at it is that all vehicles in the left hand lane (once the driver is on the roundabout) have priority until they leave the roundabout.

This vehicle in the left hand lane does not have to give way to the right hand lane vehicle travelling at speed when he is passing an exit and the right hand lane driver intends to cut across the left hand lane in order to make the exit, although he would be wise to do so in order to prevent a nasty accident.

An example is the car arriving at speed in the left hand lane at your 1st exit point (you are in the right hand lane intending to leave at your second exit point, and continuing in the right lane). You are both likely to arrive at your second exit point at around the same time. The car in the left hand lane ideally should have gotten over to the right hand lane but there were too many cars in the right hand lane so he decided to stay in the left hand lane and is about to cross your exit at the same time you intend to leave. Who gives way?

Another big misconception is that you must give way to vehicles on the right. This is true only of vehicles already on the roundabout as you approach and continue into the roundabout entrance, naturally you should give way to anyone already in your left hand lane and in the right hand lane if you intend to take this lane, while the misconception especially on small roundabouts is that you have the right of way even before you reach the roundabout properly and can put your foot down when the car on your left has already reached the roundabout and its wheels may even be over the line.

You say the car in the left hand lane, I say the car in the right hand lane because this not only makes sense, it is the way a roundabout is negotiated in the UK in order to minimise accidents.

It is imperative that the Commissioner of Police makes some proper directives for the use of roundabouts on the Island.

Of course in an ideal world a vehicle proceeding to the second or third exit should be in the right hand lane but he/she must slow down and observe whether there is a vehicle approaching the exit in the left hand lane and what the vehicles intentions are (1) he/she is leaving the exit by the left hand lane, or (2) crossing the exit in the left hand lane and proceeding to other exits. It is inconceivable that the right hand vehicle should expect the left hand vehicle to give way at an exit and this does not happen in the UK where cars in the right hand lane sometimes queue up to turn into an exit while allowing slower moving traffic in the left lane to continue around the roundabout.

Tourists, of course, are doubly confused and we should give them the benefit of the doubt in any event.

In the UK drivers are taught to use their mirrors otherwise they will fail the test. We don’t seem to bother here, which is a major problem on roundabouts in particular.

The one and most important rule is to slow down when approaching the roundabout, observe what’s happening with other traffic, and proceed with caution.

Irvin R. Banks

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