The letter of Willy Vanderhoeven, Traffic circles don’t work in Hermanus (The Village NEWS, 30 September) refers.
The remark, ‘’Most drivers treat it like a three- or four-way stop i.e. braking instead of maintaining speed, whether traffic is oncoming or not,” explains why the writer is so frustrated by the conduct of other drivers. If his expectation is that drivers approaching a circle must maintain their speed whether traffic is coming or not, he will be disappointed every time.
Traffic circles (the preferred term is roundabouts) are designed to induce slowing down and yielding to traffic on the circulatory road (in the roundabout). Even without traffic in the roundabout, drivers have to slow down to negotiate the geometry: the curved splitter island that forces a turn to the left followed by the inner circle that forces the turn to the right.
The discussion on how to use a roundabout should start with the legal requirement on right of way as contained in the National Road Traffic 1996, Act 93 of 1996.
- Right of way at certain road junctions
The driver of a vehicle on a public road shall, when he or she intends entering any portion of a public road which constitutes a junction of two or more public roads where vehicular traffic is required to move around a traffic island within such junction, yield the right of way to all vehicular traffic approaching from his or her right within such junction, unless his or her entry into such junction is controlled by an instruction given by a traffic officer or a direction conveyed by a road traffic sign requiring him or her to act differently.
If the driver approaching the roundabout deems it necessary to stop at the yield line in order to observe traffic on the circulatory road or traffic that may enter from the preceding entry road, he/she is driving responsibly and reasonably. I suspect that Hermanus drivers have learned to act in this way to avoid the risk of collisions, because there are some other local drivers that maintain speed (through the roundabout), whether there is traffic or not.