Are roundabouts safe? How can I avoid an accident that occurs as a result of improper roundabout navigation?

Roundabouts can be very daunting if you’ve never driven through one. Instead of waiting your turn for a traffic light to signal that it’s safe to proceed, the ease of moving through a roundabout is based on drivers' ability to yield to one another and smoothly merge when entering and exiting the circle. A roundabout's design reduces traffic congestion and discourages crisscrossing T-bone collisions.roundabout safety

Research from the Federal Highway Administration suggests that roundabout designs promote a 35 percent annual reduction of overall crashes; a 90 percent annual decrease in fatal accidents; and a 76 percent annual reduction of intersection injuries.

Furthermore, roundabouts promote:

  • Slower speeds. The circular design of roundabouts forces drivers to be in the state of a constant turn. In order to properly navigate through the circle without rolling their cars, drivers must maintain a slower speed than if they were going through a straight intersection.
  • Limited opportunities for impact. Roundabouts all but eliminate head-on and high-speed right angle collisions by limiting impact sites from the 28 potential collision points of a normal intersection to eight possible collision points.
  • Traffic fluidity. By eliminating the need for traffic lights and stop-and-go traffic, roundabouts allow for a constant traffic flow. In turn, this fluidity helps decrease road rage, impatience, and reckless driving.

Unfortunately, a safer design isn’t always enough to eliminate collision risks, especially when human error plays such a large role in traffic accidents.

Driver Negligence and Roundabout Safety

Driver negligence and reckless behavior often cause needless and possibly tragic traffic collisions. Every intersection, multi-lane highway, or city street presents a unique set of difficulties for drivers, and motorists encounter challenges with roundabouts as well. These might include:

  • Lane confusion. Although exits are clearly marked around the circle, sometimes it's difficult to determine what lane you need to be in for your exit. For some drivers, this confusion may cause panic and overcompensation as they attempt to change lanes in the roundabout.
  • Yield rules. Impatience is a huge cause of driver negligence. Many drivers feel they should be allowed to cut ahead of others, while other drivers believe they shouldn’t have to wait for another vehicle. For a roundabout to work, incoming traffic has to yield to vehicles already in the circle.
  • Right-of-way confusion. Determining who has the right-of-way can be difficult in a roundabout. This confusion can lead to drivers taking a chance and merging without the right, while others who have the right-of-way may wind up stopping in the middle of the roundabout to allow others to merge. Both these actions can cause serious collisions.

If You’ve Been in an Accident, Turn to Us

Insurance companies are sometimes known for giving accident victims the runaround when it comes to injury claims. Fortunately, we’ve spent our entire careers learning about that industry's tactics to avoid awarding a proper settlement. If you’re injured as a result of a negligent driver in a roundabout, contact us immediately—we'll help you strengthen your claim. Call (386) 673-4412 for a free consultation and let us help determine if your injuries may be eligible for a significant settlement.