roundabout safety

Both single-lane and multi-lane roundabouts have begun springing up in WA State over the last decade. They are hailed as a way to reduce accidents at intersections and keep the flow of traffic moving more efficiently.

While roundabouts come in many different shapes and sizes, they have the following traits in common:

  • Drivers must yield to traffic in the roundabout (entry yield control)
  • Reduced speed inside the roundabout, usually 15-25 mph
  • Counter-clockwise flow around a center island

Research published in the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual revealed that roundabouts generally reduce car accidents that result in the most serious types of personal injuries by 70 to 82 percent when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections. The reasons found for the reduced accidents and injuries are the natural reduction in number and severity of conflict points and the lower speeds of vehicles moving through the intersection.

A traditional four-way intersection has 32 conflict points– eight merging (or joining), eight diverging (or separating) and 16 crossing.  By comparison, there are only eight total conflict points at a roundabout that replaces an equivalent traditional intersection – four merging and four diverging.  In addition to the dramatic reduction in conflict points, the type of conflicts that still occur are in the same-direction and result in substantially less severity and chance of injury.

Top roundabout safety tips

These roundabout safety tips from the WA State department of transportation can help to prevent motor vehicle accidents by drivers confused about how to use a roundabout:

  • Look for the yellow “roundabout ahead” sign as you approach a roundabout: it will have the advisory speed limit for the roundabout.
  • Slow down as you come near to the roundabout and be on the lookout for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
  • As you approach the roundabout’s dashed yellow line for your entrance, look to your left.
    • If there is traffic in the roundabout; you must yield to them. In a multi-lane roundabout you must yield to traffic in both lanes.
    • If there is no traffic in the roundabout you may enter the circle without yielding and drive to your exit.
  • Once you are in the traffic circle, do not stop.
  • Use your turn signal before exiting.
  • In a multi-lane roundabout you must choose your lane before entering: to drive straight or right, take the right lane; to drive straight, left or to make a u-turn, take the left lane.
  • Stay in your lane while driving the roundabout.
  • Large trucks, buses, emergency vehicles or vehicles with trailers often need extra room to complete a turn in a roundabout, taking up both lanes. Never drive in the lane next to a large truck or vehicle.

If you were injured in a car accident caused by reckless or erroneous driving in a roundabout, contact a car accident lawyer today.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!