Although extremely common overseas, roundabouts—also called circle intersections—have only recently become popular throughout the United States. More and more of them are popping up around highways and replacing busy intersections.
More than 130 roundabouts are currently in use across Virginia, and another 80 are planned for the future. This means that it has become imperative that U.S. drivers learn how to appropriately navigate, follow the rules, and know the risks to avoid a roundabout accident.
Unfortunately, for some motorists, this is more easily said than done.
Confusion Trumps Safety: Dangerous Actions Cause Roundabout Accidents
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that roundabouts decrease traffic injuries by 90 percent. However, when drivers are confused, not paying attention to road signs, or otherwise driving recklessly, tragic accidents result. Some of the more common mistakes made in roundabouts include the following:
- Ignoring yields. When entering a roundabout, you must yield to any and all traffic that is already within the circle. Yield signs are clearly posted at every roundabout entrance point in order to remind you that the traffic within the circle does not stop. Therefore, before you enter, you must make sure the coast is clear. When you ignore the yield sign or figure you can get ahead of oncoming traffic, you’re not only putting yourself at risk, but you’re potentially putting the entire circle at risk for collisions, backups, and injuries.
- Changing lanes. Since a roundabout is a circle, lanes break off depending on what direction you need to go. For this purpose, lane markings are clearly indicated before roundabout entrances, in order to make sure you enter in the correct lane for your eventual exit. If you enter in the wrong lane, you need to follow it through. This means that you’ll either have to take the wrong exit and turn around, or continue around the circle until you once again approach your exit and can legally follow your lane through it.
- Stopping in the circle. Roundabouts are designed so that traffic can flow continuously. When you suddenly stop, you add turbulence to the traffic stream, and this can cause tragic consequences. If you become confused or pass by your exit, you must continue around the circle in order to come back around to it. If you try to catch it by slamming on your brakes, you may cause the car behind you to rear-end you and also increase confusion and stress in your fellow motorists. Don’t increase your odds for a massive, multi-vehicle collision: follow the circle and follow the signs to make sure you’re in the correct exit lane.
What to Do When an Accident Has You a Little Loopy
Even when you fully master the intricacies of a roundabout, other motorists could still put you and your family in harm’s way. Unfortunately, when this happens, the roundabout confusion is the least of your problems. Insurance companies will try their hardest to make sure you get the bare minimum of what you deserve for your injuries. They’ll try to use legal jargon, medical terms, and backward thinking to confuse you enough to except a ridiculous settlement. Don’t let them!
If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll explain your rights, provide you with excellent advice, and straighten out any confusion within your injury claim. Remember, insurance companies don’t care about justice, but we do! Call today to see how we can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.
Make sure your family and friends know how to navigate roundabouts by sharing this page with them via Facebook and Twitter. You can also tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident. Don’t let them go around in circles. Give them the information they need.