Innies vs. Outies (Not a Belly Button Story)


The city in which I live has a fair number of traffic circles.

They’ve fallen out of favor in several parts of the world. Too tough to navigate. (I did a brief stint temp-ing at the city’s transportation department. Those guys have a gigantic hard-on for traffic circles. Love ’em. Think every intersection should be one. Scary stuff.)

For the uninitiated, this is how it works.

A friend and I were discussing some jackassery we’d witnessed in traffic circles of yore. Talk turned to our respective ways of tackling the Circle.

She stays in the outside lane. That way, she feels like she has more control of the situation, can watch for cars making a last minute dart out of the inside lane, predict, mitigate.

I am an inside lane person. The inside lane has the right of way. So no matter what, I’m in the right.

(Another friend says she just closes her eyes and goes as fast as she can to get the hell through.)

We decided the traffic circle is a fairly accurate personality test.

I play a defensive game. I make sure the rules are in my favor, and then go.

The friend takes control and assumes others will screw up and is READY.

(And the close eyes-go fast friend? Well…)

So how about you? Are you an inside lane, stay safe, wear the rules like a badge person? Or an outside lane, take charge person? What’s your deal?

15 responses to “Innies vs. Outies (Not a Belly Button Story)

  1. Outside. Always …

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. I avoid them when I can. We have 2 new ones at the edge of town that I can take a back way so that I don’t have to deal with them. One of them is a one-laner and being in front of or behind a semi is not much fun!

  3. outside, to inside, to outside to exit – generally screaming “Wheeee!” the entire time! sometimes get in the inside circle and go around a full turn just for fun! (no, we don’t have many of them around here, but i find them fun!)

  4. I was introduced to roundabouts while living in Ireland. Here in the US, we don’t counter them so often. I love them, and think they are an efficient way to deal with intersections. There was a super-huge one, like four or five lanes deep, outside of a major city, that was not at all efficient; other than that one, I love them. I vary my approach according to the whims of the day. That probably supports your personality test theory. 🙂

  5. Outside if making a simple right turn (one connection over). Inside if more than that… Going straight through is a short move to the inside to avoid the next connector, then move back to the outside to exit.

  6. I don’t close my eyes, but I do hold my breath and hit the accelerator and hope for the best. I hate roundabouts.

  7. Inside has right of way? I honestly had no idea. I don’t understand why they even have an inside lane. I stick to the outside.

    Me, I like a simple (single lane) traffic circle. I get frustrated/confused when they start introducing stop signs, through lanes, and traffic lights. I always wonder if they’re not trying to cause more accidents at that point.

  8. Outside for me – quick in, quick out!
    By the by, I nominated your blog for The Liebster Award. Come visit to see what it is:

  9. After some years of spirited debate, the town in which I work replaced its Main Street 4-way stop signs with a circle rather than a stop light. Townspeople call it the roundabout and it only has one lane. Yes, it actually, amzingly, works rather well.

    So, to answer your question … Yes.

    On larger traffic circles, I would have to classify myself as an outie. Fear driven outie. What a nightmare it would be to get trapped in that inner circle for any longer than 3 circuits.

  10. Roundabouts are common down under, although less so for major intersections, which tend to have lights. Most roundabouts are single lane, but for those that are double lane I use a mix of in / out, depending on where I’m going and which lane will get me there either fastest (most often) or with the least chance of being hit (I’ve never seen an accident in a roundabout, come to think of it). The inside lane doesn’t have right of way here, just whoever enters the roundabout first has right of way. There is one wild intersection that has 3 interconnected roundabouts (for your googling pleasure, it’s where Hull, Cambridge, Lincoln and Manchester Rds intersect in Mooroolbark, Victoria). It is ridiculously easy to navigate once you get your head around it, but the first few times you’re convinced you’re going to die.

    Even more fun here, we have ‘hook turns’, but only in the CBD (Central Business District = downtown) where trams are common. Basically, if you want to turn across traffic (in our case, turn right) you pull over to the left and wait in front of the queued traffic until you no longer have a green light. Then you’re the first car(s) to go with the green light in the other direction. It sounds crazy, but it works, as it keeps cars from blocking trams, and the hook turn intersections are well-posted. Although I do know people who will drive a block further and take 4 left turns to avoid doing one hook turn. 🙂 I’ve never not been nervous when I’m doing a hook turn, but I refuse to avoid them. Which is probably as accurate a reflection as any on my personality. 🙂

  11. Little roundabouts aren’t bad at all, but the big ones…. whew. Here in Oz, apparently the rule is “Whomever has the best insurance policy goes first.”


  12. I have a not-so-irrational fear of multi-lane roundabouts ever since my friend’s car was sideswiped by a semi truck while we were going through one a few years ago… The truck decided it wanted to merge into the inside lane, right into the passenger side of the car, where I happened to be sitting. Luckily the driver was not a total idiot and got back in his own lane before smashing us to bits, so the only injuries were to the car- broken mirror and dents and scrapes all down the side. Good times.

  13. I grew up in a town with a very busy traffic circle (we called then rotaries) and it was a drivers education right of passage to take new students through it…anyway the big joke is that once you’ve driven that circle you can drive at 45mph through any circle

  14. Here in the US I choose the lane I need and get pissed at the other idiots who don’t know what they are doing, a personality test for sure. On a brief 6 month stint in England, I ended up, the only time i drove while there, in a roundabout- could NOT figure out how to get out (the whole wrong side of the road thing). Ended up going around and around with my passenger (the car owner) yelling NOW every time I would get to my exit. It never worked. I finally stopped the car, in the middle of the round about, got out, and made him drive.
    I think it is genetic. My mother went around DuPont Circle in DC 12 times before getting out…..

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