Roundabouts are gaining popularity across the United States for managing traffic flow. While they might help to facilitate traffic in some instances, the unique rules and challenges associated with them can increase the risk of accidents.
Understand the facts about roundabouts to minimize confusion.
The rules of roundabout use
Carmel, Indiana has the most roundabouts in the entire country, so local drivers should understand the fundamental rules associated with their use.
When entering, yield the right of way to those vehicles already in the roundabout. This protects the continuous traffic flow. In addition, most roundabouts have multiple lanes. Choose the appropriate lane for your intended exit. Use the right lane when approaching your exit, or the left lane to continue on for a further exit.
The problems with roundabouts
Although roundabouts can improve traffic flow, they come with some challenges. Confusion is common for drivers unfamiliar with roundabouts or uncertain about the location of their exit. Hesitation, incorrect lane usage and accidents may result in these instances.
Large vehicles may struggle to navigate roundabouts because of the tighter turning radius. This increases the risk of congestion within the roundabout, which may lead to accidents.
The common roundabout accidents
Inside a roundabout, the most common accidents include rear-end collisions and side-impact accidents. Drivers failing to yield to the vehicle in front when approaching a roundabout could misjudge the traffic speed and cause a rear-end collision. Side-impact accidents often result from improper lane changes, failure to yield to vehicles in adjacent lanes and lack of signal use.
Current studies show that roundabouts reduce the risk of accidents by up to 80% compared to traditional intersections, but only with proper use and navigation.