Boating Accident at Exit 3

I was out on errands and was thinking about the long list of disasters we’ve seen lately – hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, earthquakes, nuclear saber-rattling, and so on. No specific thoughts, but just general awe of the list.

I came off 91 North at Exit 3 and went to the circle. I moved over to the left lane to get ready to go into the circle and beyond the first turnoff down Putney Rd.

There was one car ahead of me, and to our right was a van hauling a boat on a trailer. Both pulled out and started around. The lane was clear so I followed.

The car was heading to NH and did the right thing – moved to the inside lane to go around and head to NH.

The van with boat stayed in the outside lane to go beyond the Putney Rd turnoff and also to the NH turnoff. In doing so, the driver took the turn a bit wide, crossed into the inside lane, and clipped the car ahead of me. Crunch.

It was one of those moments that you could see coming and couldn’t do anything about. The low speeds meant that there weren’t squealing tires or skids. Just a momentary bump, and everyone kept driving until it was safe to pull over.

It was just a little, slow-moving impact, but the boat had ripped half of the plastic front bumper off of the car. (Remember steel bumpers, and how they used to extend out and around the corner of cars like hooks? Having the plastic meant it would be broken, but kept the two vehicles from being caught together.)

Everyone was fine and it would soon be a matter of paperwork and auto body repair.

As I went on my way, I thought about the list of disasters again. It could be worse, I thought. I was one car away from being hit by the boat at Exit 3.


The error here was the trailer crossing out of the lane, but I couldn’t help but think that if my personal rule for roundabouts was followed (only use the right lane for an immediate turn,) this wouldn’t have happened.

Technically, going to the second exit is allowed, but it takes some skill. Here are some rules for roundabouts:

–If you are turning right (first exit), take the outside lane.
–If you are going straight or the second exit, take the outside lane
–If you are taking a further exit, take the innermost lane and move over prior to your exit, after the first or second exit.

There are some good diagrams and additional tips here:

Comments | 1

  • Using turn signals would be nice, too....

    I’ve recited those same rules to so many people! Right lane for right turn, left lane for further turns. There’s not even a need to move to the outer (right) lane before exiting, because all the exits have 2 lanes.

    Definite additions are: slow down, yield to vehicles already in the roundabout, and use your turn signal instead of springing surprise maneuvers on the other drivers.

    Oh, and remember large trucks (and boat trailers) take up more space than passenger cars and may cross the center line!

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