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Do Roundabouts Reduce Accidents?

Jun 4, 2019 | Auto Accident


Indiana is implementing roundabouts more and more as a way to reduce accidents and traffic congestion. According to the Department of Transportation, roundabouts also reduce fuel consumption, air pollution and construction costs, while increasing capacity and enhancing the aesthetics of an intersection.

At the end of 2016, more than 256 roundabouts were constructed in our state, with over 100 located in one town!

Get Familiar with the Roundabout

If you haven’t encountered a roundabout, or if you’ve seen one but had no idea about what to do, the state has provided this handy brochure.

Are Roundabouts Really Safer?

Roundabouts can be intimidating. Entering the circle, especially at times of heavy traffic, can be daunting. It leads to many opponents of roundabouts saying that they cause more accidents.

This is a myth.

Various DOT studies across the country show that crashes overall are reduced by 39 percent in a roundabout compared to a traditional four-way intersection.

Other safety statistics:

  • 76 percent reduction in crashes involving injuries
  • 30-40 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes
  • 90 percent reduction in a crash that leads to a fatality

What Makes Them Safer Over an Intersection?

In a typical four-way intersection, there are 32 points where vehicles can collide with each other. This is taking all the ways of travel into account–crossing through the intersection, making a right-hand turn and making a left-hand turn.

In a roundabout, the points of collision are reduced to eight. This is because cars are not crossing or turning left into a roundabout.

And when there is a crash in a roundabout, speeds are usually low enough to prevent serious injury or death. Most roundabouts are designed for cars to travel around 15-25 miles per hour in them, and the one-way, counterclockwise flow of traffic eliminates the possibility of a head-on collision.

Another key reason that roundabouts are safer than intersections is that they remove the variable of the red light or stop sign. There’s no instance of someone trying to beat a changing yellow light or running a stop sign when dealing with a roundabout.

They also cut down on traffic back-ups that red lights can cause. Due to the flow of traffic being more consistent and continuous with roundabouts, rear-end and chain-reaction accidents are virtually removed from the picture. A multistate study revealed that a roundabout reduced traffic delays by 89 percent and vehicle stops by 56 percent.

Why is There Opposition to Roundabouts?

Fear of the unknown is attributed to the roundabout’s lack of general popularity in the United States. A study in the state of Washington surveyed drivers’ opinions of a roundabout before it was constructed and after it had been in operation for a number of months. The first survey showed that only 31 percent of people favored a roundabout, while 41 percent strongly opposed it.

After those same people got to drive in the roundabout, the number of people in favor of it doubled to 63 percent. The amount who strongly opposed it also dropped sharply to 15 percent.

While roundabouts are generally considered safer for the public, accidents do happen, especially those involving bicyclists and pedestrians. If you have been injured or a loved one has died in an accident involving a roundabout, contact us for a free consultation. Stewart & Stewart is your Indianapolis Auto Accident Lawyer, and we know what it takes to get our clients the money they deserve. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.

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