Roundabouts were introduced at 15 locations around Japan for the first time this week, but many motorists were confused.
Signs were put up at each roundabout, with arrows showing that vehicles must drive clockwise only.
For readers who might not have seen them, a roundabout is a kind of circular intersection where traffic flows continuously around a center island. Drivers must merge into the circle, giving way to those who are already on it, and then turn off at their exit. Because you have to slow down or stop in order to merge into the circle, roundabouts are considered a safer option to stoplight intersections, where full-speed collisions can result in death and serious injury.
Roundabouts also allow traffic to keep on flowing smoothly when there is no traffic ahead as, although drivers are required to reduce their speed, there is no need to come to a complete stop if the road is clear.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism established an expert panel last year to perform a feasibility study on roundabouts.
On Monday, the first 15 opened to traffic in seven cities -- with mixed results.
A driver in Suzaka, Nagano, told TBS: "I'm confused about how many times I have to stop. Is it just once?"
A pedestrian said: "I prefer traffic lights since I know when to stop and when to go."
The ministry said roundabouts will be introduced in another 34 places this year.© Japan Today