Roundabouts tend not to be very popular in the United States because motorists are often more familiar with intersections using traffic signals or signage. However, studies and anecdotal evidence find that roundabouts are safer and improve traffic flow.
Still, the lack of familiarity with this method of traffic control can lead to accidents. Drivers should consider what mistakes to avoid at roundabout intersections.
Stopping unnecessarily in the roundabout
At an intersection with a stop light or stop sign, a driver may have an opportunity to pause and decide which way to proceed. This habit may lead a community’s drivers to feel the urge to stop while approaching or traveling within a roundabout.
Halting hinders traffic flow, and a sudden stop might cause an accident. Drivers should only stop to avoid a collision. As a driver approaches the roundabout, the individual needs to determine which exit to take and promptly move to the correct lane.
Neglecting to yield
As with other intersections, pedestrians have the right of way. Also, cyclists have the right to bicycle lanes. Motor vehicles must share the road with these fellow travelers.
Also, vehicles within the roundabout have the right of way, so approaching vehicles should not try to force their way in aggressively. Additionally, drivers must yield to emergency vehicles using audible or visible signals.
Driving recklessly or inattentively
Drivers need to control their speed in roundabouts to stay safe. Vehicles should keep moving throughout the process but need to enter and exit slowly. Motorists must also use the right-turn signal to indicate an exit.
Roundabouts can be the optimal traffic solution for intersections. However, accidents can still occur if drivers are not careful. When everyone does their part to follow road rules, roundabouts and surrounding streets remain safe.