The U.S. has a lot of intersections, many of which are governed by traffic signals or stop signs. Yet, recently, many authorities across the country have been changing those traditional intersections to roundabouts.
Modern roundabouts are similar to the old rotaries or traffic circles, but they work slightly differently, partially because they are often smaller and slower.
Roundabouts improve safety
There are two primary reasons why roundabouts are safer than traditional intersections:
They slow the traffic: The smaller the circle, the slower you need to drive around it. Any crash that occurs will be at a much lower speed, which typically results in fewer injuries.
They change the angle of impact: If you crash at a traditional intersection, there’s a good chance it would involve one vehicle T-boning or rear-ending the other. Both can result in significant injuries to the occupants. Because of the angles at which cars meet on a roundabout the crash forces are offset somewhat. Any crash will be more of a glancing blow than a straight-on hit.
Research has shown that replacing traditional intersections with roundabouts can reduce crashes by as much as 47% and reduce the chance of a crash where someone is injured by as much as 80%. One study found that replacing a high-speed rural intersection with a roundabout led to a decrease of 62% in crashes and 85% in injurious crashes.
What’s more, research shows that drivers injure fewer pedestrians at roundabouts, and the improved flow of traffic also leads to a decrease in emissions that pedestrians and drivers breathe in.
Roundabouts can take some getting used to, and a driver who has not seen many could make a mistake that causes a crash. If they injure you, you may benefit from learning more about your options to claim compensation by seeking legal guidance.