I’ve been all snooty with my DMV course – hey, look at me, I’ve got all the road knowledge. So imagine my surprise upon googling today to find that roundabouts and traffic circles aren’t the same thing.

What? You knew that? Well, aren’t you the smartypants. Carry on.

So yes, I googled for my stream of consciousness post. While I’m not exactly sure if that’s against the rules I wanted to check myself before putting this statement out there: “I never heard these things were called roundabouts until I moved up north/down south.” You see, I couldn’t remember which way it went and figured the very least I could do was get the geography right. Thus the googling.

And a voice rang out from the heavens above – WRONG! WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. ROUNDABOUTS DON’T HAVE A THING TO DO WITH BEING ABOVE OR BELOW THE MASON DIXON LINE, YOU NINNY.

Just kidding. God didn’t care much about this roundabout google (I don’t think), and He certainly didn’t call me a ninny. Live and learn, right?

So I’m sure some of you are all well, aren’t you gonna share your newfound knowledge, Laura? Come on, of course I am.

I’d assumed (and you know what they say about assuming) that since those intersections are essentially circles with entrances and exits and a design that’s just as likely to trap you on the inner loop as encourage the free flow of traffic – well, “roundabout” and “traffic circle” both seemed to describe that setup pretty well. And I wholeheartedly assert that there is a regional difference in what they’re called, I just can’t remember which is what. But, as promised, here’s the actual difference between the two (compliments of wikipedia).

Roundabout – a type of intersection using a one-way circular roadway where entering traffic always yields to traffic already in the circle and merges in directly

Traffic Circle – a type of intersection using a one-way circular roadway but the entrances to the circle are three-way intersections controlled by stop signs, traffic signals, or they’re not formally controlled (which is phrasing that contradicts the premise of the sentence structure but that’s just my picky English major persona talking)

Well, they say knowledge gained is…knowledge gained…so I guess this’ll sit in my brain. Pretty sure I’ll keep calling the dang things traffic circles, though, basically for two reasons. 1) It’s designed for traffic to go in a circle, and 2) “roundabout” makes me feel like a southern belle in an old movie. Jimmy’s coming ’round about seven so’s we can sip some lemonade on the porch.


Linda’s stream of consciousness drives our Saturday fun. This week’s prompt is “’round.’ Use it as a word by itself or find a word that contains it.”