Are Roundabouts Safer Than Intersections?

13/06/2023 - 09:50 | Featured | IAB Team

To curb collisions, more roundabouts are being added in place of traditional intersections. Some people welcome these changes while others have found them confusing. But are roundabouts doing anything to make the Bronx safer?


What is a Roundabout?

Roundabouts are circular intersections that allow vehicles to enter after yielding to other vehicles already in the circular traffic flow. The design intends to make drivers approach and move through this area slowly. This is supposed to make it safer for both those in vehicles and pedestrians.

The Federal Highway Administration cites roundabouts as a proven safety countermeasure. The claim is that roundabouts reduce the number of crashes as well as serious injuries.

Why Do They Say That Roundabouts Are Safer?

If you think that roundabouts are more confusing and worry about how safe they are, you’re not alone. However, roundabouts do have yield control. This means that you do not have to enter the intersection until you feel you can safely do so. You won’t ever run a red light at a roundabout either.

Roundabouts also increase visibility for all drivers and pedestrians. With fewer points of impact, there are fewer fender-benders and rear-end collisions. Since you move through a roundabout at a slower speed, there’s less chance of having a serious accident.

This type of intersection doesn’t fully eliminate the possibility of a crash, but it does create a 44% reduction in the likelihood of having one. In fact, the chances of a T-bone collision are almost entirely eliminated. It also reduces the chances of severe injuries or fatalities by 72%.

What Can Make a Roundabout More Dangerous?

Since nothing is foolproof, roundabouts can still pose some dangers. Drivers who fail to pay attention in a roundabout can crash into the rear end of another vehicle or wind up in a fender-bender.

Roundabouts may be more difficult to navigate with heavy traffic, poor road conditions, and rain or snow. When there are aggressive drivers in the roundabout, it can make this type of intersection more dangerous.

How to Safely Use a Roundabout

Despite the downsides, roundabouts are considered much safer than the traditional intersection. But if you are confused and don’t know how to drive through one, you could easily wind up in a car accident.

To use a roundabout properly, you must yield to all traffic from your left. All roundabout traffic will move in a counterclockwise direction. It’s important for you to yield to both lanes of traffic, not just the closest lane.

Once you are clear to go, proceed at the posted speed limit and watch the signs to determine which lane you should be in. As with regular intersections, you must also yield to any pedestrians and bicycle riders.

Passing another vehicle in the roundabout is never a good idea either. If you still feel unsure of what to do, you should go slow as you follow the flow of traffic. Don’t worry if you miss your turn. You can always go around again to catch your exit.

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