What is the Purpose of Roundabouts? Are They Effective in Making Intersections Safer?

Roundabouts are unique traffic features that are growing in popularity across the United States. They differ from traditional intersections in that they do not interrupt the flow of traffic. Whereas you are expected to stop and wait at an intersection with a traffic signal, you are expected to keep moving through a roundabout.

How to use a roundabout:

As you approach a roundabout, you are expected to slow your speed. If there are no vehicles in your way, you can enter the circle without stopping at all. If there are other vehicles already in the roundabout, you are expected to yield until a clear opportunity to enter presents itself. From there, you simply drive around the circle until you come to your exit, at which point you can exit without stopping at all.

The benefits of roundabouts:

Roundabouts help drivers to save on traffic time as they keep cars continually flowing through intersections. Also, they are significantly safer than traditional intersections. Research has shown that roundabouts reduce the types of crashes that seriously hurt and kill people by up to 82%. When no one is frantic to make it through an intersection before they are cut off for another round of light changes, things go a lot smoother. Also, drivers must reduce their speed in a roundabout by design, which automatically reduces the severity of any collisions that do take place.

Roundabouts can seem intimidating to drivers who do not know how to use them properly, but once they are learned they can be very effective in reducing traffic and keeping drivers and passengers safe. It is your responsibility as a driver to familiarize yourself with the rules of every type of intersection, so make sure that you understand and can feel confident navigating roundabouts. Once you get the hang of it, we doubt you will want to go back to traditional intersections ever again.

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