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Jersey Shore Driving PSA – Navigating Traffic Circles

angry driver
iStockphoto

Everyday I take Route 34 to the Parkway (and vice versa) as part of my commute, which means I get to navigate a traffic circle (where Rt 33 and 34 meet with Rt 547).

It’s also everyday that I encounter a near accident due to any number of drivers not knowing how to navigate said circle.

Here’s a friendly PSA to help out.

The most important part of navigating a circle is having some semblance of a clue as to your final destination. This is when it is key to stop looking at the GPS like it’s an oracle and actually read a sign (though THAT’S a post for another time.)

Signs are also a key part of knowing whether or not you have the right of way or not.

Good: Yielding to other cars when you are supposed to.

Bad: Slamming on the breaks in the middle of the circle.

Perhaps the issue is that the NJ state driver’s manual says when it comes to traffic circles, “Common sense…must prevail at all times.”

Ah.

traffic circle
Google Maps

There is no set law on navigating a traffic circle. If it is a circle where one major highway intersects smaller roads, the traffic flow of the major highway tends to have the right of way.

If it’s two major roadways intersecting, generally, once you are IN the circle, you have the right of way until you are out of it. You can’t just enter the circle all willy-nilly.

Also, if the signs approaching the circle tell you which lane you should be in to get to whichever road you need to be on post-circle, do not consider this a challenge.

And hey, if you happen to get off on the wrong exit of the circle, DON’T BACK UP IN A TRAVEL LANE ON A MAJOR HIGHWAY so you can get back into the circle. (Yes, I actually saw that happen last week.)

If you miss your exit, either accept that you are going to be that weirdo going around the whole circle like it’s a carnival ride, or, get off at the next exit, and when it’s safe, make a U-turn, and go back into the circle. It’s not a big deal.

Hopefully this has cleared things up. Safe circling, all.

Where’s the worst traffic circle at the Jersey Shore?

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