Put quite simply and without much fanfare:
I would like the drivers in Kent to use their indicators on roundabouts.
The rest of this communication is me making my point but with an associated rant too. Feel free to skip it all. In fact I recommend you skip all the twaddle below.
The main routes I travel around mid-Kent have plenty of roundabouts and navigating these safely is quite a task. Many have lanes marked where most people don’t follow those lanes, in my opinion because the way the lanes are labelled makes it nigh on impossible to drive smoothly (The Running Horse roundabout is a prime example). Also, conversely, many roundabouts have sensible lanes marked and people don’t seem to understand the writing on the roads and why the car in the left lane might be turning right.
Here’s a guide and some specific rants:
A229 and M20 Eastbound interface. This is a curious one which has two lanes for turning right when leaving the M20 eastbound. There is a filter lane on the left to head towards Chatham. There have been plenty of occasions when drivers fail to notice the filter lane and stop at the roundabout waiting for there to be a space in the traffic. This is not the worst offence and actually understandable. You people are forgiven.
The M20 and the A249 roundabout. My general impressions of this roundabout are that people cut lanes and don’t indicate or if they do it’s to address the problem of being in the wrong lane in the first place. Most of these offences seem to take place at rush hour and I guess people think they will save time by rushing and lane hopping. The issue is that you don’t really save time. You just increase your own stress, others’ stress and cause distress.
This roundabout has been updated recently to make space for the Kent Institute of Medical Science or something similar. Generally this roundabout works well, however, I have noticed that some of the drivers coming from the Bearsted direction to travel towards the M20 (straight on) like to indicate right and then not cancel their indicator as they approach their turning. This is annoying.
The not-quite J7 of the M20 roundabout. The road people recently wrote new lane instructions on the road here. They had to change the layout due to new roads and stuff on the A249 towards Maidstone. The new lane markings make excellent sense. It’s such a shame that many people who drive here seem unable to either read lane markings or actually drive and use indicators at the same time.
This is not really a rant about the drivers on this roundabout although I have witnessed one crash here. The council or someone re-designed this roundabout about 5 years ago along with a new by-pass. The lanes don’t work as you have to swerve to make the correct lane as you travel around the circle. Also, when entering from Malling direction there is a ridge that bounces the car light as you travel over it. I first discovered the ridge when I was motorcycling, the rear went loose and I nearly lost control. It’s a very poor design.
The M2 J3 roundabout. I would have to say that the general problem with this roundabout is, well, that’s interesting. I drew this onto the map but am not sure why. I know, let’s go for the general fact that it’s a roundabout and it’s in Kent, therefore people don’t understand the lanes or use their indicators.
The Running Horse roundabout joining Penenden Heath to the A229 and the M20. Whoever designed the lanes on this roundabout never tried to drive them. The lanes do not follow a smooth arc around the traffic circle and in reality you have to swerve across lanes if you follow the road markings.
People do not indicate on this roundabout. This would improve matters. When they do indicate they seem to indicate to move off the roundabout one turn too early.
In the course of my time driving in these areas I would estimate (subject to confirmation bias) that I have seen 3 or 4 accidents here a year. And that’s just at the 5 or so minutes a day that wander here.
Suppose you are journeying from the A229 southbound to the M20 west bound. You would follow the route depicted above. What happens in reality is:
No indicators, no general lane control and head off to M20
This leaves all the drivers approaching from other routes not knowing where you are going and makes them wait whereas had some indication of travel been used the roundabout would flow much more smoothly.
What should happen is:
- Start to indicate right at A and be in the right hand lane
- At B start to move to the left and get ready to indicate left as you come level with Forstal Road
- Exit the roundabout at D using either lane
Those who do use their indicators seem to start indicating left at point C which should mean that they are going down Forstal Road but this is not what happens most of the time.
This roundabout is dangerous. The lane markings on the road itself do not make for smooth progress around the traffic circle. People using the roundabout don’t use their indicators because they are clueless and people use the wrong approach lanes because it will save them a few seconds. Oh, I guess I should also state that people are generally twats and don’t think about their driving and how it affects others’ they just exist in their own cosy little warm world of their car.
I have decided that I shall not rant about driving any more on this website (I might tweet about it now and then) but it is not important enough to warrant my time. Oh, that and the fact that people don’t really read this stuff.