While many believe that roundabouts (rotaries) are more dangerous than intersections, studies show that they are statistically safer. Studies of intersections converted from traffic signals or stop signs to roundabouts found reductions in injury crashes of 72-80% and reductions in all crashes of 35-47%, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Roundabouts help eliminate many risky driving behaviors. For example, drivers approaching a four-way intersection will often speed up to "catch" a green light when the danger of a collision is the greatest. However, drivers approaching a roundabout tend to slow down and be more aware of other vehicles on the road. Roundabouts also eliminate the danger of vehicles turning left while others are turning right.
Here are some tips for safely handling roundabout intersections:
- Obey the speed limit. Look for a “roundabout ahead” warning sign and be sure to slow down and follow the speed limit for the roundabout and surrounding area.
- Yield to traffic. If there are other vehicles in the roundabout, you must yield to them. In a multi-lane roundabout, yield to the traffic in both lanes.
- Do not stop once you enter the roundabout. Choose your lane before entering and do not change lanes until you exit the intersection.
- Avoid driving next to oversize vehicles. Watch for large trucks, buses and emergency vehicles. They often need extra room to complete a turn in a roundabout and will take up more than one lane.
- Watch for pedestrians. Be sure to yield to pedestrians and always use your turn signal when entering and exiting the roundabout.
Roundabouts are designed to make intersections safer and more efficient for drivers. Follow these tips to keep you and your vehicle safe on the road. For more safety tips visit elementfleet.com/resources/tips-advice.