The Hanger Lane Gyratory is the dubious-sounding name given to a big roundabout (traffic circle) in North West London. To me - it’s a major turning point from the A40 (Western Avenue) onto the A406 (North Circular) on journies home by car from Central London (or West London) - and I have to confess that I love it. The A40 might be my favourite London highway - but the Hanger Lane Gyratory is my all-time favourite traffic junction. Yep - much more exciting than, say, Vauxhall Cross, Staples Corner or the Westferry Road Roundabout - believe me - I’ve done’em all. At one point on this roundabout - you have seven lanes! I don’t believe that there’s any other road in London that has this many lanes to choose from.
Many people try to avoid it - and the traffic reports on the radio aren’t complete without mentioning it - but there is nothing more exhilerating that driving with extreme sense of purpose around it. Even better when you’re carrying a passenger new to London - for it’s a thrill that will have your passenger holding on for dear life in their seat. And an extreme sense of purpose you must have. Because this place is London’s car equivalent of the OK Coral. Every driver knows what they’re doing. Everyone except, that is, the unfortunate motorist who probably used the A-Z to plot a route from A to B without appreciating that the Hanger Lane Gyratory is probably THE MOST hostile roundabout in the country. Once false manouvre and you’re toast: every nearby car, bus and truck will screech to a near-stop and you will be assassinated by a volley of honking horn.
I have driven round this magnificent system for years - and not once have I ever experienced the kind of gridlock (or should it be “circle-lock”) that you get at, say, the Target Roundabout further up the A40. Maybe I’ve just been lucky - but I’m sure that the lane system and traffic light phasing does a marvellous job of getting vehicles around quickly and efficiently - just as long as everyone obeys the rules.