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Are roundabouts really safer than traditional intersections?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2022 | Car Accidents |

Federal, state, and local governments are constantly looking for ways to make roadways safer. Nonprofit organizations put in work, too, with public safety initiatives aimed at educating the public and raising awareness of the dangers of some driving behaviors.

Although the benefits of some of these strategies are readily apparent, others are a little more difficult to assess. That’s the case with Quincy’s decision to build its first roundabout at a cost of approximately $4 million.

The details of Quincy’s first roundabout

The project will take place at the intersection of 48th and State streets, where daily traffic currently surpasses 8,000 vehicles. A study suggests that traffic at that intersection is expected to reach 12,000 vehicles daily by 2040. Part of the project will include moving an existing natural gas line that lies near the intersection.

Are roundabouts safer?

Although it’ll probably going to be a while before the roundabout project will be complete, many are already questioning whether roundabouts are actually safe. Studies show that roundabouts are significantly safer than traditional intersections. In fact, one study found that intersections that had a traffic light or a stop sign that were changed to roundabouts saw up to an 80% decrease in accidents that resulted in injuries. The overall accident rate deceased by up to 47%.

In Illinois alone, studies have found that roundabouts reduce injury accidents by 76% and fatal crashes by 90%.

High speed intersections that only had a stop sign also saw a significant reduction in accident rates when converted to roundabouts. There, injury accidents reduced by up to 85% while overall crash rates declined by 62%.

Why are roundabouts safer?

There are several reasons why roundabouts are safer. To start, the sharp turning that is involved when traveling through a roundabout requires a driver to slow down and remain alert as they prepare to enter or exit the roundabout. This helps avoid dangerous collisions that occur at normal intersections when vehicles make left or right turns or swerve into oncoming traffic.

But motorists aren’t the only ones who benefit from roundabouts. Studies have shown that pedestrians are safer when crossing the street at a roundabout.  This is because pedestrians at a roundabout only have to cross one direction of traffic at a time, and vehicles are travelling at much lower rates of speed at the time of crossing. In fact, in Illinois, pedestrian accident rates have decreased by up to 40% at intersections that have been converted to roundabouts.

But are roundabouts totally safe?

No. Accidents still occur in roundabouts, particularly as vehicles merge into the roundabout and attempt to exit. That’s why it’s important that drivers educate themselves on the proper maneuvers to take when entering and exiting a roundabout.

What should you do if you’re injured in an accident?

Regardless of where an accident occurs, you need to assess the facts to determine who was at fault for the wreck. Then, if you determine that the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may want to consider taking legal action.

After all, if you’re successful on a personal injury claim, then you may be able to recover compensation for your damages, which could be quite extensive. These losses might include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The thought of taking legal action can be daunting, especially when you’re just trying to focus on your recovery. But that’s why experienced legal teams like ours stand ready to help you fight for an outcome that is fair and just. So, if you or a loved one ends up injured in a car or truck accident, then you may want to consider seeking legal assistance.