By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Nothing says “home” to a Massachusetts native more than a traffic rotary.

And I thought something was up when my unfriendly neighborhood rotary suddenly sported bright new lane lines and arrows indicating which lane to use as you approached. And now it’s confirmed – the state plans to at least try to bring peaceful co-existence to the rotaries by repainting all of them, a move that studies claim results in a dramatic drop in crashes.

I commend state officials for trying. But I suspect it’s going to take more than white paint to cure rotary chaos.

For one thing, Massachusetts drivers are notorious for ignoring even the most reasonable directions. Did you know it’s illegal here to travel in the passing lane? That’s hilarious, isn’t it?

I was taught back in driver’s ed that all traffic entering a rotary is supposed to yield to traffic already in the rotary, but that is not what happens. My rough estimate would be that about three in ten drivers think it’s up to the cars in the rotary to yield to them, and are surprised when you issue a gentle correction.

rotary Keller @ Large: No Easy Fix To Ending Rotary Chaos

The Powder House Square rotary in Somerville. (WBZ-TV)

Plus, there are other rotary issues that the new lines don’t address.

If traffic in the rotary is stalled, is it OK to force your way into the stall-and-crawl, or does that violate the yield rule?

If you are in the left lane of the rotary, is it still OK to exit onto a two-lane exit spur, or are you required to circle the rotary again and get over into the right lane?

And once the snow comes and covers the lines, are all bets off?

Oh, the joy of driving here in paradise.

Remind me again why we live here?


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