Roundabout raises concern

The Red Bay/Prospect roundabout has
been a cause for concern recently for several drivers who have experienced
slips, slides and near-accidents.

Camilla Anderson, a Cayman
resident, was driving on the roundabout in one of the recent rain storms when
she had a problem.

“I slid from the inside lane to the
outside lane going around that roundabout a few weeks ago,” she said.  “It was raining, and I wasn’t going very
fast.”

The National Roads Authority’s
managing director, Brian Tomlinson, said the pavement on the roundabout is
standard hot-mixed asphalt.

The NRA placed uniform grooves in
the asphalt at the roundabout called longitudinal tining in an effort to make
it safer.

“The grooving was done to increase
the frictional characteristics of the pavement in wet weather — similar to the
grooving on the runways at the Owen Roberts and Gerrard-Smith International
Airports,” said Mr. Tomlinson.  “Based on
my anecdotal evidence, the accidents are occurring because users are going too
fast.”

Attorney Colin Shaw says he has
experienced similar near-accidents, and it wasn’t because of people driving too
fast.

“On three occasions, I have been
following cars which weren’t going particularly fast and which spun in front of
me and ended up facing in the wrong direction,” he said.  “If you staked the roundabout out,
particularly just after a light shower, I’ll bet you would see it happen for
yourself.”

Mr. Shaw believes it’s just a
matter of time before a bad accident occurs there.

“Indeed I seem to recall that there
have been some nasty incidents there already, which is why (I assume) they’ve
cut the grooves in the road, which clearly don’t work,” he said.

An RCIPS accident report shows that
accidents are down from previous years, but many of the accidents happen in the
rainy season.

In 2008, a total of 28 vehicle
accidents were reported at the Red Bay/Prospect roundabout.  Most of the accidents occurred in October,
November and December.

In 2009, a total of 27 accidents
were reported at the roundabout, with most accidents occurring in July.

So far in 2010, there have been 13
total reported accidents.  August tied
April of this year as the month with the most accidents, with three.

Marion Pandohie of the NRA urges
drivers to drive safely and follow the rules of roundabout usage.

“The use of indicators is critical
in negotiating a roundabout as it tells drivers and other users of the
roundabout what you are doing as well as what you are planning on doing,” she
said.  “A roundabout is an intersection,
please treat it as one.”

According to the NRA, lane choice
at a two lane roundabout is similar to a standard intersection.  When approaching, choose either the inner or
the outer lane that corresponds to your desired movement.

Lane choice is based on the
driver’s destination.  The inner lane
allows right turns, straight ahead movements and U-turns only.  The outer lane manoeuvres include immediate
turns or straight ahead movements.

“Whether it is
raining or not, always give way to the vehicle on your right and always use
your indicators,” Ms Pandohie said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. People probably don’t realize that a LIGHT rain causes any oils in the road to rise thereby causing slick conditions.As the rain increases the oils get washed away,the most ‘slippery’ time on a road is during the first light rain.Another thing is the quality of tread on the tires.Bald tires offer no grip on the road.

  2. Totally agree w/ Diver 1 about the tires. People don’t realized that these things have to be changed, like the car batteries and so on. Rain or shine, I bet you that these cars go for a spin on the roundabout.

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