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No roundabouts?

As a UK listener ( on podcast ) I have a couple of questions about driving in the U.S.

Firstly - I have never once seen a roundabout ( traffic circle? ) in any film or TV series. Are there any at all in real life?

Secondly - What is the rule for turning right on a red light. Is it just if the exit is clear go for it?

I drive a 92 Nissan Micra Subcompact BTW

Yes. There’s a roundabout where I live. Although fairly new, everyone who enters it knows the rules.

Turning right at a red light is the same as turning right at a stop sign. You must come to a complete stop before proceeding.


We have them. And they should all be removed…only seen one that ever worked correctly.

Have someone show you the rt2 traffic circle in Concord MA…drive that during rush hour and you’ll know why they should removed.

A lot of the major roundabouts here have Traffic Lights that work at Rush hour. There is a big roundabout near me that leads to Junction 25 on the M1 - before they put the lights in you could be sat there 20 minutes waiting for a gap!

Traffic circles are fairly common here in Maryland. Right turns are allowed on red here; I believe that laws like this may vary state to state.

One can also make a left on red if both streets are one-way and the intersection is not marked otherwise.

Here is a online cam site for the Bourne Bridge rotory (American for Roundabout) on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

I grew up in Pennsylvania 10 miles from the New Jersey line. They had them all over the place in Jersey in the 60’s & 70’s. There was a big one where US 202 met NJ 31 in Flemington, & one near Somerville where us 202 & 206 came together. They were total chaos if you ask me. There didn’t seem to be any kind of right of way. We used to make fun of “Jersey drivers” when we’d see someone with Jersey plates do something stupid here in Pennsy on the highway. We figured they were still dizzy from negotiating them damn Jersey traffic circles!

Actually, the dizzy thing was partly based on truth, 'cause the only good thing about them circles was, if you missed your turnoff, you could just keep going round & round till you figured how to get off at the right turnoff!

I wonder how many drunk kids in NJ used to drive around those circles over & over again just for kicks!

When I was 18 we cruised through the local fast food place 287 times in succession one night before the cops finally chased us out.

Being from Pa & criticizing NJ highways, though, is like the pot calling the kettle black.

Yes, we have roundabouts, which are referred to as “traffic circles” in many areas.
And, even if you did not ask the question, these roundabouts/traffic circles tend to have accident levels that are FAR higher than for any other type of road intersection.

As to making a right turn on a red light, that differs from one jurisdiction/state to another.
However, even in states/jurisdictions that allow right turns on red lights, there are always some intersections where that type of maneuver is banned, due to poor sight-lines at the intersection. That restriction does not prevent some citizens (we refer to them as “dirtbags”) from making an illegal right turn.

Then again, those same people apparently believe that we have a “straight ahead on red” statute, based on the number of cars that I see driving past red lights each week.

Guess I spoke too soon. Here’s the circle in Flemington, NJ, although it recently may have been obliterated:

The article actually makes a distinction between a “traffic circle” & a “roundabout”, though.,r:6,s:0

Our traffic rules are determined by the states as well as the local municipalities, so it’s hard to give a complete answer. Everywhere that I’ve been, with the exception of New York City, a right turn on red is legal if there’s not a “no turn on red” sign, assuming it’s a normal red light and not a red right arrow and assuming you come to a full stop first. Most intersections don’t have this sign. If it’s legal to turn, most drivers will get mad if you choose not to, by the way.

If you’re planning on driving here, be aware that there’s no standard location for the sign. It may be hanging next to the stoplight or it may be on a post beside the intersection (sometimes set back far enough not to be visible once you’ve reached the stop line).

As for the traffic circles, we do have them in some places. New England and upstate New York have a decent number. What’s fun about those is that in some states the traffic in the circle has the right of way and in other states the traffic entering the circle has the right of way.

A right turn on red here would be akin to a left turn on red in the UK.
Provided the person beside you doesn’t want to be an arse and creep up to block your view while you’re trying to see down the road clearly.

Roundabouts: It depends where you are. We have them where I live, but they are a recent addition. But roundabouts have been in used in Washington, DC for almost 200 years. It’s a well known method of delaying an army from entering a city easily and overrunning it. If DC’s case, it was in response the the British takeover in the War of 1812. It was never tested, though. Right turn on red is allowed in most places in the US that I have been. It is allowed in Maryland and Virginia unless marked otherwise. If you come for a visit, just make sure that you are familiar with the rules where you drive. I found out a lot about driving in Europe on the internet before I went there. Do a web search for right turn on red rules and you will get tons of information.

There is, or was, a traffic circle in OK City and one in Tulsa, OK. Both should be plowed under because they’re a huge menace to public safety. It’s like throwing a single piece of meat out to a dozen starving dogs.

In OK anyway, the state passed a law stating that one can make a right turn on red after a complete stop UNLESS the city passes an ordinance to the contrary. In that case the city is supposed to post a sign stating that you cannot do it.

Not wanting to appear to copy England we have rectangleabouts or octabouts. We even changed the words to “Take Me Out to the Ballmatch”. We think that we rule Brittannia. We are still collecting WW2 payments from youse guys. The sad part is that we probably need it.

If we could only figure out how to sell Iraq to you we could balance our budget. We’ll sell it for half a crown (which is equal to a tiara over here). Sorry, I’m treating your question as if it were asked while Mr. Lucas was floating about. Are you being served well?

There are two traffic circles in Augusta, the capital of the state of Maine. One on each side of the river with a bridge in between. None of us know where we are going. There are many in Southern Maine (Boston Massachusetts). We have a monument in the traffic circle on the “settled” part of Augusta. Maybe it is there to encourage the drivers to play pedestrian roulette.

Every state can decide to allow right turn on red after they first stop the car and I don’t know if all fifty states do. If you ever drive while you are in Maine, you will need lots of petrol. When they give directions and you are told to turn left at the next stop sign, it could be 17 miles away. After that drive I needed directions to Westin Supre Mare. Feel free to correct my spelling of that one. Our cities have normal names like Chipping Icebury. Muchbinding on the Marsh.

And I doubt those traffic circles the 20k cars a day rt2 does…I avoid that area like the plague during rush hour.

There’s a roundabout in Boise City, OK that is in the middle of this small town and encircles the courthouse. Traffic is generally very light so it’s not a problem unless one gets to rubbernecking about the reason for this town’s claim to fame; the only U.S. city to have been bombed during WWII. It’s unknown if the pilot and crew were awarded the DFC or not. :slight_smile:

As you can see there is some debate about traffic circles and roundabouts. They are not the same thing.

In one the cars entering have right a away in the other the cars in the circle have right a way. Which is which seems to depend on who you talk to. Sort of like “the engine is cranking”

Most US drivers have little if any real experience with them.

In the city were I live they have put in a couple dozen. It took a few months to educate the drivers and now few drivers have problems and the traffic is moving faster and safer than before.

Now take the average American driver and have them drive on the left side of the road and come up on a roundabout -------  :-) 

 [i]  - What is the rule for turning right on a red light. Is it just if the exit is clear go for it? [/i] 

 I it is the same as a red light.  You come to a complete stop and all other traffic has right-a-way over you.

We have one locally in Portsmouth NH. It works fine especially after they occasionally put some state troopers(police) at it to make sure people understand it.

It even includes a state liquor store on it.

There are roundabouts in the US, but there are more in some areas and few to none in other parts of the country. Driver’s in the US seem not to like roundabouts but I’ve lived where they are common and I prefer a roundabout over a lengthy wait at a traffic light.

The left turn rule(s) are many since there are so many situations involving a left turn. Commonly you’ll have a left turn lane where everyone turning cues up. The traffic signal will show a green arrow indicating when you can make a left turn. At some lights when the left arrow goes out, that’s it no more turns allowed. At other lights there is a sign stating you can turn when the arrow light is off IF there is no oncoming traffic.

Sorry, but there is no one rule that fits all situations.

“It even includes a state liquor store on it.”

Hmmmm…Is that related to the state slogan, Live Free or Die?

(Or, is it Live Free AND Die?)