Meanwhile in a country far far away*. Driving school, Lesson 6. Roundabouts, rond punt, ronde-point

As imagined in a local driving school.

Belgique

Instructor:

You have done really well in our previous lessons so today we are going to have a special lesson.  Today we are going to learn roundabouts.

Now there are two rules to roundabouts that you must never forget.

Rule one. There are no rules. In fact it is important that you adapt your behaviour to the circumstances so that in all situations you are able to do just what you want without other people messing up your driving rhythm.

Pupil:

That’s not a rule! Give me a proper rule that I can follow. What’s rule 2?

Instructor.

All driving at roundabouts is subject to the Laws for state secrecy. Under no circumstances should any citizen ever allow any other driver to know where you are going next.

Circulate rapidly always giving the impression that you are going to take the next exit, then just when they think you have made your choice carry on round another one or two exits just to be on the safe side.

Pupil.

What about the indicators?

Instructor.

NO. NO. NO. Indicators are used by foreigners only. Let anyone see you using an indicator and they will think you are English, then you will get no respect at all. It’s like the roundabouts with more than one lane. Don’t get in the habit of choosing the same one each time for each manoeuvre because people will expect us all to do the same and then where would we be, Germany?

Pupil.

Any special instructions if I see pedestrians and cyclists?

Instructor.

ronde point

Sigh. You are not following this are you? The crossings round the roundabout are part of a statistical study. Those people waiting are not really trying to cross, they are sampling the behaviour of motorists to see how many stop. Apparently the samples to date show that it is entirely random. Which is as it should be, or people like me wouldn’t be doing our jobs.

Although you do need to be careful if you ever drive North, the Dutch keep stopping for them and it messes everything up, the cyclists get a bit pushy and expect to be taken seriously. That needs stamping out.

Clear?

Pupil.

I think so. Can we go and practice now?

Instructor.

Yes I think we should. If this goes well next time we can book you in for our special offer lesson. It lasts five hours and it is called “finding a parking space in Brussels”.

*May be Belgium

Ronde Point Albert Mayne

*Substitute Wallonia/Flanders at your peril.

PS: We have our own roundabout here – but that is another story!