I have read that the most dangerous time for beginning private pilots is when they have around 250 hours flying time. Before that, when they have very little experience, they realize that they don’t know much, and as a result, they are cautious and unlikely to have a problem. But at that certain point they start to think they know more than they actually do, and start taking little risks that they shouldn’t. This overconfidence is, sadly, sometimes fatal.
Perhaps the same logic applies to driving in general, and new driving experiences in particular. The first time you drive a new route you are careful and watch out for dangers. But, if you have driven that route numerous times, you think you know it well and get sloppy.
So, this brings me to roundabouts. I think we are approaching that point of dangerous confidence. I have noticed lately that folks are making fast approaches and cutting safety margins thin. As an example, I was in the south Main St. roundabout the other day when a car coming from the east waited so late to yield for me that he had his front wheels locked up trying to stop. I am also seeing folks pulling out closely in front of other cars that are already in the roundabout. There’s no reason for this. The roundabouts already save you time compared to a stop sign or traffic light. All it takes is a couple of extra seconds to go through safely and politely. So remember, you don’t know as much about roundabouts yet as you think you do.