As was reading about the plans moving forward for a round-a-bout on Rt. 126 in West Gardiner with the off ramp of the Turnpike and the entrance of the service plaza, I learned Maine has 25 round-a-bouts and rotaries. Or as I like to call them 'Circles of Death'. In all honesty, I see how some can save lives, the can slow things down. But having spent over 20 years getting the hang of the Cony and Memorial circles in Augusta, I still hold onto a healthy fear of my fellow drivers.

For example, the round-a-bouts in Auburn near Walmart and the Auburn Mall. I don't mind those. They are small and for the most part single lanes.However, new round-a-bouts near the new hospital...they are multi-lane and IF you have no rotary experience, dear fellow driver, you are a hazard. I have seen people just stop while in the rotary. I have seen people just pull into rotary traffic in front of a car with the right of way. Both of those cases happened with-in seconds of each other one day.  I know I was behind the one who stopped and slammed on my breaks to avoid the one who decided he did not need to stop for no stinking yield sign.

Clearly the use of a circular traffic pattern is growing. So, lets remember, THEY HAVE RULES and IF everyone follows the rules, it works well. They normally have these big signs with pictures of what lane you should be in to go they way you want.

The only good thing about having been forced over the years to learn to use rotaries is I am fairly well versed on what bone head moves people make. So I head into a rotary on defensive driver mode. I call that protection.

So next time you are facing one of these things please, please, please read the signs. They can work really well, but that all depends on you.