Are Car Accidents More Common in a Roundabout?
Roundabouts direct traffic from multiple directions. Roundabouts differ from traditional intersections in that they do not involve traffic lights or stop signs. Vehicles yield upon entering a roundabout and, once in, travel in a counterclockwise direction until they reach their desired street and exit.
Roundabouts are not very common in many parts of the United States. However, as more areas begin to introduce roundabouts to their roadways, it is natural for drivers to wonder, “do roundabouts cause car accidents?” Here, Irvine, CA, car accident lawyers Sean M. Burke and Jason N. Argos discuss how the presence of a roundabout impacts the likelihood of a car accident.
Roundabouts and Safety Benefits
Since roundabouts do not have traffic signals or stop signs directing drivers to stop before entering into the intersection, many drivers worry about the safety of these traffic circles. While there are no lights to direct traffic, the roundabout design has actually proven to be quite safe. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that roundabouts decrease, rather than increase, the number of car accidents in an area.
According to data collected by the FHWA, roundabouts are particularly effective at reducing the number of severe car crashes, or those that result in serious injuries or death. In comparing accident data for two-way stop-controlled intersections that converted to a roundabout, the FHWA found that the rate of severe crashes was reduced by 82 percent. For signalized intersections that were converted to a roundabout, severe crashes were reduced by 78 percent.
The Risks of Roundabouts
Roundabouts are an effective system for managing speed and assisting drivers in transitioning from a high-speed environment into a low-speed intersection. However, roundabouts are not without their risks.
The largest risk of roundabouts is driver inexperience. Because roundabouts are not particularly common, especially in the Irvine area, many drivers have never navigated this type of roadway before. While roundabouts drastically decrease the number of severe and fatal car crashes, it is not unusual for the number of minor accidents to increase when a roundabout first goes into place, in large part because drivers are simply unfamiliar with this type of intersection.
Causes of Roundabout Car Accidents
Roundabouts themselves do not cause car accidents, but driver errors and unsafe driving practices can. Fortunately, the roundabout design virtually eliminates the risk of head-on or high-speed T-bone collisions, but other types of accidents can still occur. Unsafe driving practices that can lead to roundabout car accidents include:
- Entering a roundabout at unsafe speeds
- Traveling in the wrong lane of traffic
- Stopping in the middle of the roundabout (traffic within a roundabout should move continuously unless absolutely necessary)
- Failure to yield to traffic, bicyclists, or pedestrians
- Trying to pass other vehicles within the roundabout
Even though roundabout accidents are generally classified as minor, they can still result in substantial financial losses. If another driver’s reckless or negligent behavior causes an accident, our Irvine attorneys can help accident victims hold them accountable for resulting damages.
Contact Our Law Firm
If you have been injured in an accident and believe that another driver is to blame, car accident lawyers Sean M. Burke and Jason N. Argos can help you prove accident liability so that you are justly rewarded for your losses. To discuss your accident in further detail, send us a message online, or call our law firm at (949) 644-3434.