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No More Gridlock: Proper Use of Roundabouts Is Good For Everyone

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Automotive Sampling System, approximately 40% of the estimated 5,000,000 crashes that occur in the United States every year are intersection-related. This means that 12,000 people a year die and hundreds of thousands are injured due to reckless intersection driving.

As a result of this staggering statistic, the United States has begun to replace traditional intersections with circular roundabouts. However, due to the fact that roundabouts were relatively rare in the U.S. until recently, many drivers are reluctant to use them. To drivers who are unfamiliar with how roundabouts work, they can also be somewhat daunting and confusing.

Roundabout Safety Guidelines

If motorists pay attention to the guidelines and posted signs to help navigate the circles, roundabouts can drastically help decrease intersection collisions, injuries, and fatalities. The next time you approach a traffic circle, remember these safety tips to prevent confusion and crashes:

  • Always check for pedestrians. Just like any other intersection, roundabouts have crosswalks for pedestrians. However, roundabout crosswalks are generally several feet in front of the circle entrance rather than at the turn points. Check these crosswalks before approaching the roundabout.
  • Remember to yield. Before entering the roundabout, make sure you always yield to any approaching traffic that is already in the circle.
  • Leave your brakes alone. Once you’re in a roundabout, never slam on your brakes or abruptly stop; the circle is meant to flow continuously and any stops will disrupt that flow and cause a crash.
  • Check your lane. For roundabouts with more than one lane, double check the posted signs before entering to make sure you’re in the proper lane for your exit because you should never change lanes in the roundabout, Generally, the right lane is used when you wish to turn right or continue straight and the left (or inner lane) is generally used to go straight, turn left or make a U-turn (when making a U-turn, continue around the entirety of the circle until your exit).
  • Use your turn signal. When you approach your exit, make sure you signal that you’re getting off. Traffic behind you needs to know you’ll be slowing down instead of continuing around the circle.

Ending the Dangerous Loop

Given the potential risks involved, do you think there should be refresher courses for roundabout driving? Should signs be more prominent? In your opinion are they safer than intersections?

In the comment section provided, please let us know what you think about roundabout driving and traffic rules. Not only will you help us learn more about societal opinions, but your experiences could also help our clients get the extra knowledge, reassurance, and confidence they need to pursue justice.

Need more information? Contact us directly for a free consultation, or like us on Facebook for periodic updates and legal advice.

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