Roundabouts have become increasingly common and momentum to build them is growing. An experienced T-Bone accident lawyer knows roundabouts can reduce side-impact car accident risks at intersections, thus saving lives. While roundabouts are not always practical, putting roundabouts in intersections where a significant number of broadside crashes are occurring can be an effective way to make roads safer.
Reducing T-Bone Accidents Through the Use of Roundabouts
T-Bone collisions occur when one vehicle is going straight and collides with the side of another. Also called right-angle collisions, the crash involves one vehicle striking the other broadside. The two cars form a T" T-Bone accidents are common at intersections, especially if a driver fails to obey traffic signals like stop signs or red lights. At intersections, it may be difficult for motorists to know who has the right-of-way, leading to T-Bone crashes. These accidents can also occur when visibility is obscured or when motorists have a difficult time assessing how fast another vehicle is traveling and how long it will take the car to clear an intersection.
Roundabouts can help reduce risks of T-Bone accidents at intersections. State Departments of Transportation may develop plans to install roundabouts in intersections with high collision risks. Roundabouts are "circular intersections that require all entering traffic to yield at entry." Traffic signals are not necessarily needed when all vehicles entering the roundabout must yield to vehicles already in the roundabout.
Roundabouts create a low-speed environment in a circular roadway, preventing T-Bone crashes. When accidents do happen, speeds are slower and the angle is lower so the accident tends to be less severe. Roundabouts may also be more efficient because of the requirement to yield at entry. Drivers must look only in one direction to see if oncoming traffic is approaching and may enter the roundabout whenever an adequate gap is available. Once a motorist has entered the roundabout, he can count on not having to yield. Drivers face a delay before entering, but a shorter delay than would occur at a traditional intersection with a traffic light since they only must yield before entering the roundabout.
UC.edu published a report on roundabouts. Roundabouts not only decrease speed, but also increase attentiveness of drivers.
Roundabouts are more commonly used in Europe than the U.S. By 2003, France had 30,000 roundabouts. In the United States, an estimated 1,000 roundabouts existed by 2007. Efforts have been made in recent years to encourage roundabout use because of safety benefits. Congress even made roundabouts eligible for 100 percent funding under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act.
While some argue roundabouts can be confusing, most advocates believe they make roads significantly safer. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program believes "substantial reduction in injury accidents has been the primary reason for the great success of modem roundabouts in France and in Germany."
More knowledgeable about roundabout safety benefits should lead to increased acceptance of their use throughout the U.S., thus reducing T-Bone accident risks.