Roundabouts Are Here to Stay
A roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. Roundabouts eliminate traffic signals or stop signs. Drivers yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout, and then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street.
Proponents of roundabouts tout three major reasons roundabouts are better for the environment and dramatically safer than the traditional four-way intersections dominating American roadways.
1. Roundabouts are a safer alternative to traffic signals and stop signs. The tight circle of a roundabout forces all driver to slow down, and nearly eliminate the most severe types of intersection crashes - t-bone and head-on collisions.
2. Roundabouts are better for the environment. Research shows less idling at stop signs and red lights, reduces vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.
3. Roundabouts generally are safer for pedestrians. Pedestrians walk on sidewalks around the perimeter and cross only one direction of traffic at a time. The crossing distances are relatively short and the speed of traffic that pedestrians face are lower than at traditional intersections.
Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration indicate there should be a wider adoption of roundabouts in the United States. A 2001 department study reported that converting intersections from traffic signals or stop signs to roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 80 percent and all crashes by 40 percent. A similar study found a 75 percent decrease in injury crashes and a 37 percent decrease in total crashes at 35 intersections that were converted from traffic signals to roundabouts.
More and more roundabouts will be showing up in your community. Roundabouts are here to stay in America. Therefore, education about how to approach and drive in a roundabout is vital to the acceptance and success of their quick adoption. Navigating a roundabout is easy and should NOT give American drivers anxiety.
There are just a few simple guidelines to remember when driving through a roundabout:
1. Slow down
2. If there's more than one lane, use the left lane to turn left, the right lane to turn right, and all lanes to go through, unless directed otherwise by signs and pavement markings.
3. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
4. Yield at the entry to circulating traffic (traffic in the roundabout).
5. Stay in your lane within the roundabout and use your right-turn signal to indicate your intention to exit.
Carlson & Burnett attorney, Rich Hitz represents injured victims of car accidents in Nebraska and Western Iowa. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and you have questions or need legal representation, contact Carlson & Burnett to set up a free consultation with Rich Hitz.