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Do Roundabouts Prevent Accidents?

By Pendergast Law on March 16, 2022

A roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise until they are ready to exit. Roundabouts are very popular in Europe, and they have become more common in the US in the last few decades.

Although roundabouts tend to eliminate some of the more dangerous types of accidents that often occur at intersections, they take some getting used to. Drivers who are unfamiliar with a roundabout are likely to have difficulty negotiating these traffic circles, and this may result in crashes.

The Benefits of Roundabouts

Traffic engineers are often big fans of roundabouts because they reduce congestion by increasing the overall traffic flow. And since there are no traffic lights or stop signs at a roundabout, it eliminates T-bone accidents and collisions that happen when someone is making a left-hand turn. These are some of the most dangerous types of crashes, so roundabouts reduce the number fatalities that occur at intersections.

The Problem with Roundabouts

Many American drivers have difficulty adjusting to roundabouts, and this causes its own set of problems. At a roundabout, there are multiple points of entry, and incoming traffic must yield and wait to enter. Once they enter the roundabout, drivers are expected to maintain a speed of about 20 mph until the reach their desired exit point.

The rules for driving in a roundabout may be confusing for drivers who don’t use them on a regular basis, and several types of problems can arise:

  • Speeding. American drivers aren’t accustomed to slowing down at intersections. When people continue to drive at higher speeds after entering a roundabout, it’s likely to result in a collision.
  • Failure to yield. The traffic on a roundabout goes continuously, but drivers must yield and wait their turn before entering. This is often confusing for drivers who may expect other motorists to slow down and allow them to enter.
  • Sudden stops. Once you have entered a roundabout, you must keep going until you are ready to exit. But drivers who are unfamiliar with roundabout rules may panic and become paralyzed. Sometimes they will stop suddenly to allow another driver to enter or they will stop when they reach their exit point. This may cause rear-end collisions.
  • Not yielding to pedestrians, motorcycles, and bicycles who share the roundabout with drivers can lead to accidents that may cause serious injuries.
  • Not watching out for larger vehicles. It’s essential to give trucks and other large vehicles extra room to negotiate the tight turning radius of a roundabout.
  • Not using a turn signal when changing lanes or exiting the roundabout is another common mistake drivers make at roundabouts. By failing to notify others about their intentions, drivers who don’t signal may cause accidents.
  • Distracted driving. Drivers who are texting, talking, or engaging in other behavior that distracts their attention from the road are particularly dangerous at roundabouts where traffic never stops moving.

Were You Injured in a Roundabout Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured, it’s important to find the right car accident injury attorney, someone who can help you recover the costs of your medical care and other expenses caused by your injury.

At Pendergast Law, we’re proud to offer our clients a no-fee promise, which means if we do not make a recovery in your case, there is no attorney fee owed. Contact us locally at (425) 228-3860, or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 for a FREE consultation. We’re on your side.

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