32

What are the rules for this junction? Bear in mind, there are no signs or road markings to indicate what kind of junction it is, nor to indicate any kind of right of way. This is an extremely rural area.

Maps view

Schulstraße and Gartenstraße, map view

Satellite view

Schulstraße and Gartenstraße, satellite view

It looks to me like a standard roundabout. Inheriting the rules regarding that. There is however, no signage indicating a roundabout.

My confusion stirs from the usage of this junction by other drivers.

For an example, (using the overhead map as reference) if you are coming from the left road and you wish to go straight ahead, it is the second exit. You curve downwards, then back up past exit 1 and exit the roundabout at exit 2.

Everyone else (no hyperbole) drives straight over the top portion of the roundabout. As if the roundabout doesn't exist. There is enough space to support two lanes of traffic. On the top side of the roundabout.

However, it feels very wrong. I always drive through this junction, treating it like a standard roundabout. I wonder if this behaviour might result in an accident however, given that it doesn't seem to be the normal behaviour for this junction.

Photos from the ground for the curious:

From top left

From top right

38

This is not a roundabout, as the signs indicating a roundabout are missing. According to the traffic rules for roundabouts, (use source: https://www.avd.de/regeln-kreisverkehr/), they have to be marked by roundabout signs.

Hence, this is not a roundabout, but the tree(?) that you see is simply put there to slow down and route traffic. The fact that the "Gartenstraße" seems to have a different color is an additional indication to the drivers that this is indeed a normal junction with the usual rules.

Note that the reason for putting the tree there could be that they want to force the drivers coming from the east and turning into Gartenstraße to turn in a more sharp way rather than cutting corners, which could be dangerous.

This looks like a residential area, where the maximally allowed speed is normally <=30 km/h, so the potential for roundabout confusion should not lead to accidents.

  • 2
    It’s hard to tell from the image, but the different colour might even indicate an “abgesenkter Bordstein” – which would then mean that drivers on Schulstraße always have the right of way. – chirlu Mar 15 '18 at 10:44
  • 5
    @Martin Bonner: No, in that case traffic from the right has priority. (Here, westbound traffic on Schulstraße would always have right of way because there is no road coming from its right. But eastbound traffic would have to yield to traffic coming out of Gartenstraße.) – chirlu Mar 15 '18 at 11:29
  • 1
    @chirlu : Thankyou. My driving instincts were forged in the UK, where traffic on the major road has automatic right-of-way, but I now live in Germany. Fortunately, I live on the equivalent of Gartenstraße, and usually want to turn right - so the only problem is that I may be unnecessarily slow getting out of Gartenstraße (rather than living on Schulstraße, and plowing into the car turning out of Gartenstraße). But critical to know for other junctions! – Martin Bonner Mar 15 '18 at 11:39
  • 2
    @Dmitry Grigoryev: Yes, but the probability that this is not a limited speed zone (with the appropriate signage, of course) is close to zero. – chirlu Mar 15 '18 at 13:15
  • 2
    I added ground photos, in case this changes your answer some what. – Knossos Mar 16 '18 at 8:20
25

If there are no signs indicating that this is a roundabout, then this is not a roundabout. Road marking also doesn't imply that there could be a roundabout. This is just a normal T-formed road junction. You should give a way to the vehicles coming from the right side of you.

PS. Your behavior - curving downwards while intending to drive through on the top segment - can lead to an accident! You would expect that other drivers would give you a way because you're on a roundabout, but they woudn't!

19

While the other answers are correct I'd like to add an aspect. In the last picture you can see sign 325.2 indicating the end of a "verkehrsberuhigter Bereich" (traffic-calmed zone).

This means that you are limited to walking speed and pedestrians have priority in any case. There could even kids be playing in the street.

This further decreases the risk of accident at such a junction. If you happen to meet another car, right has right-of-way.

  • In Washington state USA (at least) they have "traffic calming circles" that are exactly like this, but they are much bigger. Moronically, the right of way is as per a plain intersection which is the opposite of a roundabout, but there is very little difference in appearance to help you distinguish them from roundabouts. – Bohemian Mar 16 '18 at 13:38
13

This could be an example of a "Ghost Roundabout", something I first came across on the wonderful 99% Invisible website.

I'll paraphrase from their own posting in case it ever falls away, but basically:

A ghost roundabout operates on a strange theory: confusing drivers will cause them to be more careful as they pass through residential and other reduced-speed zones.

This so-called “ghost roundabout” looks a bit like either a vehicular roundabout or a pedestrian crosswalk but in fact serves neither function. It is simply meant to attract the attention of vehicle operators and get them to slow down as they drive by.

If the road marking you are querying about is indeed a "ghost roundabout", then as @Nuesser states: treat it like a standard "T-Junction".

  • 8
    A big problem I see with this concept is that it only slows down drivers who are unfamiliar with the intersection. Locals (which would make up 80% of the traffic on a residential street) will not be affected. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 15 '18 at 12:44
  • That looks more like a cistern cover to me. Cisterns are large cylinderical tanks about that size, placed under streets. They are to provide firefighting water during a loss of water pressure. – Harper Mar 15 '18 at 18:04
  • I've seen something similar in a town near to where I live (Netherlands). My driving instructor explained to me that they are used to draw attention to the fact that there's an intersection there and you do not automatically have right of way. goo.gl/maps/f24zptUacM72 (feel free to include in your answer if you would like more examples) – Belle-Sophie Mar 16 '18 at 10:22
  • Aren't such things more likely to cause stoppages and frustration than otherwise, though? You should cite a more official document. – can-ned_food Mar 16 '18 at 15:59

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