The state of North Carolina builds roundabouts to help improve safety for vehicle drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Roundabouts help to reduce congestion and backups that often build up at traditional intersections that use traffic signals and stop signs to keep the flow of traffic going. They are also safer for the environment, with less idling reduces vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that roundabouts are safer than these traditional intersections, reducing injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control.
In North Carolina, statistics show that replacing intersections with roundabouts resulted in a 46 percent decrease in total crashes, 76 percent reduction in fatal and injury crashes, and 75 percent in head-on crashes.
When a driver enters a roundabout, they travel counterclockwise around a raised center island. Entering traffic yields the right-of-way to the circulating traffic. Vehicles entering the roundabout do so at about 15-20 m.p.h. so that all of the vehicles that are driving within the roundabout are traveling at slow and consistent speeds. These slower speeds also make it easier for vehicles who are entering the roundabout to find a gap to safely enter.
Although roundabouts go a long way in reducing crashes, there are still too many drivers who practice unsafe driving behaviors when entering them. There are also drivers who aren’t sure how to drive around a roundabout and/or become confused over who has the right of way and how they should enter and exit the roundabout. These factors can lead to car accidents that can result in serious injuries.
Some of the more common reasons for roundabout car accidents include:
- Speeding: Drivers fail to reduce their speed when approaching the roundabout or driving in it.
- Failure to use the correct lane: Drivers fail to obey the traffic signs directing them to the correct lane for the exit they want to take.
- Stopping in the circle: Drivers come to a stop in the circle, often because they are confused or on the wrong lane of the exit they want.
- Failure to use directional: Drivers don’t use their turn signals to let other drivers know they are changing lanes or exiting.
- Trying to pass a large vehicle: It can be dangerous to attempt to pass a large truck. Large vehicles may also need more space to maneuver around the roundabout so it’s important for other vehicle drivers to remember this.
In order to stay safe when you are entering a roundabout and help avoid crashing, keep these tips in mind:
- Always look left and yield to traffic already in the circle.
- Always signal right when you are ready to exit the circle.
- Do not stop in the circle. Vehicles must yield to your vehicle.
- Slow down to 15-20 mph.
- Remember that traffic flows in a counterclockwise direction.
If You Are Injured in an Auto Accident
When a car accident occurs, the claim process can be a complex one, especially when trying to negotiate with insurance companies. Many times, the at-fault party’s insurance company will attempt to shift fault onto the victim of the crash. This is why it is important to retain the services of a seasoned Carolinas car accident attorney to advocate you with the insurance company. Your attorney can file the injury claim and negotiate the amount of damages you should receive.
If the insurance company refused to negotiate in good faith, your attorney can then take your claim to the next step and file a personal injury lawsuit that will be litigated through the legal system. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys have successfully represented many victims and have gotten them the compensation they deserved for their injuries.