Roundabouts vs. Intersections; ‘Murica vs. Jolly Ol’

There’s only one thing I hate more than physical pain: boredom.

Like Sherlock Holmes, my darkest fear is being slowly bored to death by a mid-season baseball game, or a rehearsal of the musical West Side Story by a group of overly confident amateurs.

Which explains why I despite sitting in traffic with the vitriolic hatred of a thousand imploding suns. 

Sure, I love my tunes. I love my talk radio. But I hate a complete lack of motion.

The Onion, a YouTube channel that should be enjoyed by ALL recently cracked fun at this first-world dilemma in a video that’s chalk full of common sense:

If life were so simple, I wouldn’t even mind a 90-minute commute to work every morning.

But let’s face it: the traffic light system has more than a few flaws. 

Which brings me to a brief discussion of England’s road system. Besides their chief exports of clouds and tea consumption (India supplies the tea), the English have a very impressive system of roundabouts that have lined their cities’ infrastructures since time immemorial.

Without further ado—let’s pit these adversaries against eachother by analyzing the American road model.



  1. Safety-With all due respect to the colour blind, North America’s road system is pretty damn easy to follow. Red means stop, green means go, yellow means slow down, and a power-failure means panic.
  2. Jobs-I’ve never been given a conclusive answer to this question: is there a vengeful guy sitting behind a computer monitor, dictating traffic lights with a snide grin? I’m sure it’s all computerized these days, but I immediately forget that whenever road rage starts to kick in.
  3. Kills the Environment-As you all know, man has been pitted against the environment in a bitter war for survival. The sooner we defeat it, the sooner we claim victory over yet another weapon of “Mother Nature.” Millions of idle cars are doing their part every day.


  1. Kills the Environment-That last pro was a joke. Nature and I are good buddies and we like to get a friendly jab in there every once in a while. But seriously, idle cars=ozone depletion.
  2. Lengthens Commute-Once you learn how to use roundabouts—getting around is a breeze. Compared to intersections, which force you to remain stationary for unendurable amounts of time, Her Majesty’s system improves the chances of you (finally) arriving to work when you’re supposed to.
  3. Attracts Bad Drivers-“Hey, honey. Should we move to Vancouver or London?” “Well, Google says that Canada’s roads are less congested and suffer fewer collisions, so probably there. By the way, you missed another optometry appointment today. That’s three years without a checkup.”

“Bah—who needs vision when you have love?”

In my humble opinion, roundabouts win this battle of commuter cultures. Obviously, I don’t expect North American cities to pay the billions necessary to convert our road infrastructures to the English model, so airing my thoughts online will have to suffice.

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(Insert witty and equally thought-provoking sign off here)

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