If you’ve driven around Knoxville, Nashville or an increasing number of cities across Tennessee, you likely have come across a roundabout. These circular intersections have been touted by transportation officials as a solution for reducing the severity of automobile crashes.
Many officials contend too that roundabouts reduce the number of accidents as well. Claims they reduce the total number of accidents though are in fact debatable.
A newspaper in Albany, NY for example reported that crashes increased at 15 of the 20 roundabouts in the area.
One thing though that most drivers would agree on – roundabouts can be complicated and difficult to navigate, especially when they’re new. Of the two types of roundabouts – single lane and multi-lane – the multi-lane roundabout tends to confuse drivers more.
Some roundabouts work great. Pierce Egerton, author of a commentary in The Safety Report magazine, observed one that was built at an entrance to a large shopping center. Traffic jams occurred regularly at this intersection. But a roundabout addressed these problems and traffic moves smoothly.
Egerton though says the multi-lane roundabout in his community wasn’t quite so easy. First, many drivers had a problem understanding who had the right-of-way. Also, drivers tend to approach multi-lane roundabouts much faster, which make the situation a bit more dangerous.
All in all, roundabouts do improve safety according to Federal Highway Administration numbers. At intersections where roundabouts are installed, there is more than a 90% reduction in fatalities and a 76% reduction in injuries. Data also shows that head-on, high-speed and right-angle collisions are virtually eliminated.
One thing is clear, roundabout intersections are here to stay. While they may not make sense everywhere, they definitely can make the road safer and traffic flow better in the right place.
Regardless though, safety is a paramount concern. The best defense against an auto accident is prevention.
Therefore, slow down when approaching a roundabout. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists and at the entry to circulating traffic. Stay in your lane and signal when you’re exiting the intersection.
If it’s a multi-lane roundabout, use the left lane to turn left, the right to turn right and use all lanes to go through unless signs and pavement markings indicate otherwise. And like on a straight road, you must yield to all emergency vehicles.
Keep an eye on vehicles around and always expect someone to make a mistake.
If you find yourself in an auto accident caused by another driver in a roundabout, be it a mistake or negligence, make sure you properly report the accident. If you’ve suffered extensive injury and property damage, speak with an auto accident attorney in Knoxville or Nashville at the Gilreath Law Firm today to discuss your case.