While 4-way intersections continue to dominate the United States transportation system, the case for roundabouts is growing stronger, as the potential benefits become clearer. Governing reports that in 1997, there were only 200-300 roundabouts in the United States, but today that number has increased dramatically. Roundabouts, as described by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), have a circular intersection design that eliminates the need for stop signs or traffic lights. Many people use the term “roundabouts” and “traffic circles” interchangeably; however, roundabouts tend to be smaller than most traffic circles, and drivers must yield to vehicles already in the roundabout.
Benefits of Roundabouts
Studies done by the Federal Highway Administration show that roundabouts have:
Reduced overall collisions by 37%
Reduced injury collisions by 75%
Reduced fatal collisions by 90%
Reduced pedestrian accidents by 40%
Increased safety is not the only benefit of roundabouts, as traffic even in the most congested areas can be improved. Roundabouts can decrease traffic delays during rush hour and can even handle traffic which includes commercial trucks and emergency vehicles.
Other benefits include better fuel efficiency, reduced car idling, and cost savings on traffic lights and other related technology.
How to Drive A Roundabout
While roundabouts have made intersections easier and safer to navigate, people often get confused upon entering the flow of traffic. Here are some tips from MDOT on how to make it through a roundabout correctly:
Remember, traffic in the roundabout always moves counterclockwise
Choose your lane before entering.
Yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks.
Use signs and pavement markings to help guide you.
Roundabouts are tricky to navigate, even for the most seasoned driver. When combined with congested traffic, driving through a roundabout may lead to a motor vehicle accident. Contact an attorney at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC, if you have been involved in an automobile accident. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle accidents, including car collisions, motorcycle accidents, and truck crashes. Call us today at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.