JD ZUMWALT: Think Before Venturing Into the Traffic Circle
If you ask someone in Moore County for directions, they will more than likely respond by asking, "OK, do you know how to get to the Traffic Circle?" The fact is, you just can't navigate around this area without going through the Pinehurst Traffic Circle.
(In case you are new to our community, when we say "the Traffic Circle" it means the same thing to everyone, even though there is more than one traffic circle -- though the others are called roundabouts. But that's another story.)
Though all of us navigate this well-known Moore County landmark several times weekly, there are still lessons to be relearned.
Yes, it is important to determine that there are no cars coming before you pull into the circle. It is even more important to make sure there are no cars stopped directly ahead of you.
That seems pretty obvious, so let's put it another way: The person in front of you who steps on the gas and appears to be going has the right to change his mind. If you proceed forward, you will hit him (or her). And when you hit him, it will be your fault -- at least according to the police, who are really the only ones who have an opinion that counts at the scene of an accident.
A request for the folks who are already in the Traffic Circle: Once you have entered the circle, it is not your job to make sure no one else can enter. It is not unusual for someone driving his (or her) mom's mini-van to make every effort to be dead certain no one enters in front of him. Some-times it feels like a scene from "Ben Hur."
A request: Could you at least consider slowing down a bit if drivers make a little error in judgment and pull out with less room than you think they need? I don't know if they teach this in driver's ed, but there is no law that requires you to get on their bumper and signal them with the universal gesture.
A polite person by nature, I sincerely try to be polite to folks who are trying to get in the circle. But the person trying to get in also might be a maniac who wonders why I am bringing a finger to a gun fight.
One more piece of advice that might be helpful: Next time you are sitting in traffic waiting for your turn to enter the Traffic Circle, and you are agonizing about how long the line is, look down at your watch. You will be amazed to find that more often than not your wait is four minutes or less.
Four minutes is a long time if you are a noted neurosurgeon on the way to the hospital to perform an emergency procedure. For most of the rest of us, four minutes is just not going to make a difference. Sitting inside a climate-controlled vehicle, listening to one and a half songs, should not be an event that raises blood pressure to dangerous levels.
It's hard to picture someone traveling from New York or Los Angeles to somewhere in Moore county turning to their spouse and saying, "Honey, let's try not to hit the Traffic Circle at noon. You know how horrendous it can get."
JD Zumwalt lives in Seven Lakes. Contact him at email@example.com.
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