It’s ‘yield,’ not ‘floor it’

I now live in a roundabout world.
Since I eschew driving on Interstate 81 whenever possible, my 19-mile morning commute from my home in Pittston to Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, involves the Pittston By-pass, Main Street in Inkerman, Main Street in Plains, Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, Middle road in Hanover Township, and when I get to the final three miles, four – count ‘em, four – roundabouts.
But I’m not here to complain. Actually, I like the roundabouts. For one thing, they shave a good five to seven minutes off my trip. But also, driving around them is kinda fun.
Another reason I don’t complain is because far greater minds than mine planned these things. The engineers, I can only conclude, know what they are doing.
You might say I “yield” to their expertise.
Which brings me to something I do know, perhaps better than they: words.
Words have provided me with a paycheck for more than 50 years.
I also know a thing or two about graphic design.
And, therefore, I have two suggestions regarding the roundabouts.
The first is about that word “yield.” As one enters a roundabout, a sign clearly orders said driver to “yield” to the vehicles already in the roundabout. But after several weeks of experience, it is clear to me the general public does not know the meaning of the word “yield.” What I have observed is drivers speeding up and flying right through the “yield” signs.
So, if yielding at these roundabouts is important, and I truly believe it is, we need to make a concerted effort to educate the public on the meaning of the word. I’m not kidding.
Secondly, I have a problem with the graphic designs painted on the roadways at the entrance of the roundabouts. The symbol for “yield” signs in Pennsylvania is a triangle. But when a row of these triangles is painted on the roadway, they resemble arrows, arrows pointing at you and therefore seeming to indicate you are going the wrong way. Every driver I have spoken to gets this same impression. It is more than unnerving. So, maybe they should be erased.
Experience, of course, is the best teacher. So, I have completely overcome the “wrong way” sensation presented by the arrows. You might even say they have become white noise. I barely notice them.
As far as those “yield” signs are concerned? I just assume no one is going to yield.
It’s a survival thing.

Ed Ackerman