Intersections are among the most frequent locations for car accidents. Traffic often flows in four different directions at intersections, and those traffic flows cross the paths of two others. Pennsylvania is undertaking a significant improvement of road intersections to make them much safer. Roundabouts across the state are replacing many intersections.
You likely have at least seen a roundabout and might regularly use one or more on your daily commute to and from work. Because they are new to many drivers, roundabouts might cause some anxiety among motorists. However, a little practice, patience, and sensible driving will show how easier it is to navigate a roundabout.
Roundabouts eliminate the left-hand turn by causing all traffic to flow in a counter-clockwise circle. When drivers reach the road they want, they turn right and continue along their way. The roundabouts also reduce traffic speed to about 25 miles per hour. The reduction in average vehicle speed means there are almost no serious accidents. Motorcyclists, scooter riders, and bicyclists are most at-risk while traversing a roundabout. No drivers are running red lights at roundabouts. The potential for head-on collisions, side-impact collisions while turning left, and other accidents are significantly reduced in roundabouts.
Studies show that roundabouts improve safety and reduce accidents in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in September 2021 released data on 26 roundabouts in the state. The roundabouts recently replaced intersections. The PennDOT obtained traffic accident information on 26 roundabouts across Pennsylvania and compared the accident rates and types from 2000 through 2020. The results show significant safety improvements at roundabouts. The study showed a 22 percent reduction in total accidents.
ThePennDOT says there was a 90 percent reduction in fatalities at the 26 roundabouts studied. A 90 percent reduction means the roundabouts nearly eliminated fatalities, most of which involved pedestrians or motorcyclists who are more vulnerable to injuries and death.
The PennDOT also reports that serious injuries were reduced by 81 percent. That means fewer extended stays in hospitals and fewer catastrophic injuries suffered compared to a traditional intersection.
Total injury crashes were reduced by 75 percent. That includes about one-third fewer accidents involving pedestrians and a 10 percent reduction in bicyclist accidents.
According to thestudy, minor injuries caused by accidents at intersections were reduced by 36 percent after the roundabouts were implemented. Despite an increased traffic flow through roundabouts, the lower average speeds enable vehicle safety equipment to protect drivers and their passengers better.
Seat belts, airbags, and other safety equipment can better prevent severe injuries when a collision occurs. Active safety systems, like blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance, help prevent accidents from happening in roundabouts.
The total number of accidents that cause property damage also declined. The data showed a 13 percent drop in accidents that caused property damage when roundabouts replaced intersections.
Advantages of Roundabouts
Pennsylvania has installed at least 56 roundabouts. The PennDOT says more than 20 roundabouts are planned for other intersections. They should be installed over the next few years. That likely means lower accident rates and fewer accidents at intersections. Fewer car accidents could make car insurance rates more affordable as well.
More roundabouts will make it easier to navigate roads in Pennsylvania. You only have to yield the right-of-way before entering a roundabout and can stay in your lane until you need to turn right.
The average speed within the roundabout likely is lower than what you would drive near an intersection. Roundabouts can increase traffic flow in all directions by about 30 percent compared to the average amount of traffic that flows through intersections. You get better traffic flow with a reduced probability of an accident occurring. If an accident does happen, it will most likely be non-fatal.
Why Are Left-Hand Turns Dangerous?
Left-hand turns are dangerous for many reasons. The main reason is that it causes you to drive across two or more travel lanes. Left-hand turns require you to pay attention to traffic in the opposite direction, such as southbound traffic while you are facing to the north. You also have to cross the travel lane of any vehicle traveling in an easterly direction while trying to merge with traffic flowing westward.
That is a lot of traffic to monitor, which leaves you prone to making a mistake that might cause a car accident. However, roundabouts simplify the process by eliminating left-hand turns.
Fewer Rights-of-Way Violations
The one-way nature of roundabouts and the inability to do anything other than turn right or merge into the traffic makes them much easier to navigate than intersections. Motorists commit fewer rights-of-way violations, and they can better choose the right time to merge into traffic.
Pedestrians also have a much easier time crossing a roundabout than they would at an intersection. They do not have to pay attention to traffic coming from multiple directions. An intersection usually requires pedestrians to cross travel lanes heading in at least two different directions. A roundabout requires pedestrians to cross two travel lanes in which vehicles all are traveling in the same direction. It is easier for pedestrians to see traffic, and it is easier for motorists to see pedestrians. Additionally, the travel speeds are much slower.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Can Help You if You Have Severe Injuries From a Roundabout Accident
Roundabouts are helping reduce accidents, but collisions can still happen in them. If you have been injured in an accident, one of our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help hold the negligent driver accountable.Call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, Media, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.