Q: Are roundabouts safer than regular intersections?
After avoiding this intersection yourself for five years, the time has come to make sure your little girl knows how to drive through a roundabout. You’re not sure who is more nervous, her or you, but you have her drive down Georgia Avenue, turn right onto Gist Avenue and slowly approach the roundabout at Woodbury.
You can tell she’s a little anxious so you try to lighten the mood by explaining some light-hearted facts about roundabouts and its safety features. Unfortunately, as you were discussing it, you completely blanked out on why they’re safer than normal intersections.
Is it because you don’t have to stop? Or there is less traffic? What does make roundabouts safe?
The Safety of Roundabouts
Although roundabouts can be difficult to understand, and a little confusing when using them for the first time, they are considered a safer alternative to normal intersections. Roundabouts are extremely common in Europe, and are gaining popularity in the United States. Their basic design is a circular intersection, where traffic flow is based upon yielding—as opposed to traffic lights—in order to keep a constant flow of traffic. Instead of traffic crossing one another, as in a normal intersections, traffic must follow the counterclockwise direction of the circle and use the exit lanes to get to marked exits.
This simplistic design, when used properly, not only decreases traffic back-ups but also limits serious accidents and injuries. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the safety benefits of roundabouts result in a 35 percent reduction of overall intersection crashes, a 90 percent reduction of fatal accidents, and a 76 percent decrease of overall intersection accident injuries per year.
These benefits include:
- Slower speeds. In order to navigate the circle, you must slow down.
- Less impact points. Roundabouts all but eliminate head-on and high-speed right-angle collisions, by limiting impact sites from 28 potential collision points (normal intersection) to eight possible collision points (roundabout).
- Increased crosswalk visibility. Roundabout crosswalks are placed further away from the actual intersection, making it easier to see pedestrians.
- Less acceleration accidents. Since the traffic flow is fluid, cars don’t have to stop and accelerate abruptly.
- Decreased road rage. Traffic flow is increased, which means there is less time for people to get angry.
When the Benefits Fail
Unfortunately, the design and use of roundabouts can’t guarantee safety due to human error. Although traffic circles limit the potential for accidents, the human element can always interfere and cause disastrous consequences. When another driver becomes confused, makes irresponsible mistakes, ignores signs, or drives too aggressively around the circle, he could cause serious injuries to you and your family. Don’t let his senseless actions ruin your life, instead call us to help you fight for the justice you deserve.
Our free consultation will help you understand your rights, build up your confidence to pursue an injury claim, and help get you the settlement you need for your injuries. Call now!
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