Next time, avoid rush hour
Whether you call them traffic circles or rotaries or roundabouts, being caught in one can be exasperating: other vehicles behind you pushing the pace so you can't slow down to look for an exit. Still others walling you off so you can't change lanes. You could ask Andrea Zimmer. This happened to her one day earlier this month in Braunschweig, a busy research and technology center in northern Germany. It's also not far from other important cities such as Hannover and Wolfsburg, home of Volkswagen, the automaker. Indeed, it might have been a VW that she was driving when police officers had to come to her rescue. According to reports, Andrea had just bought a new car and wanted to take it for a test-drive. So she set out on local streets, ultimately coming to a rotary. Now, she's experienced behind the wheel, so she confidently joined the stream of traffic heading into the first curve. But she found herself forced into an inside lane. She made one rotation, then another, then three. Somewhere in the twenties – or maybe the thirties – other drivers became aware of her plight and contacted the cops by cellphone. By the time they arrived, she estimates she'd done 50. The police made it possible for her to veer onto a side street, then signaled her to stop. No, she wasn't fined; there's no law against repeatedly circling a rotary. But she was admonished that "there's a time and place for such things, and this wasn't one of them." A bit ruefully, she told reporters: "I have to admit I got a very good feel for my new car.... I can safely say it takes [rotaries] pretty well."