Whatcom County Residents Overconfident about Ability to Navigate Roundabouts
As local drivers are aware, many single-lane and double-lane roundabouts have been installed around Washington state in the last decade as a way to reduce car accident injuries and keep traffic moving more smoothly. Studies have shown that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop signs or signal-controlled intersections, according to the Washington state Department of Transportation.
Why are roundabouts safer than traditional intersections?
Roundabouts reduce deadly and injury car crashes because they reduce T-bone and head-on car crashes with side-swipe accidents. 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 a lower rate of 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.
While roundabouts are safer for drivers, studies may be showing that they are less safe for pedestrians. A 2017 study by The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) concluded that “roundabouts dramatically increased pedestrian crashes.”
Drivers overconfident about ability to navigate roundabouts
A 2019 PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll found that 80 percent of drivers say that they’re “extremely or very confident” in their ability to navigate them but 64 percent report seeing other drivers driving them incorrectly. Clearly there’s a gap between what people believe to be their knowledge and ability to drive roundabouts and the reality. It’s quite possible that some drivers don’t realize that they’re not driving roundabouts the right way. According to PEMCO’s polls, more than 50 percent of Washington state residents surveyed said they prefer roundabouts over intersections and about 30 percent dislike them. There is evidence that even those who like them get frustrated by drivers who don’t know how to navigate them properly.
Whatcom County roundabout accident statistics
Since 2010 when roundabouts were installed on Guide Meridian north of Bellingham, those intersections have experienced a higher crash rate. According to state Department of Transportation data reported by the Bellingham Herald, those crashes caused less injuries than the crashes endured over the 10-year period before the roundabouts were built.
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!