Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s Traffic Crash Annual Report stated that there were 281,340 crashes in 2012, and because Florida intersections are the single most common location which car accidents occur, roundabouts are used as a method of improving traffic flow.
Studies of intersections in the United States converted from traffic signals or stop signs to roundabouts have found reductions in personal injury crashes of 72-80% and decrease in overall crashes of 35-47%. However, if roundabouts are not correctly navigated, motorists could find themselves in a car accident.
Read below for our helpful guidelines and driving tips to avoid accidents when going through roundabouts.
Going About a Roundabout
There are two types of roundabouts: Single-lane roundabouts and double-lane roundabouts.
Single lane: When approaching a single-lane roundabout, motorists will be notified via a yellow sign that contains three arrows pointing counter-clockwise in a circular motion. As soon as drivers become aware that a roundabout is ahead, they should slow down and prepare to yield to traffic. At the entry of the roundabout, wait for an opportunity to enter. Whenever possible, avoid entering a roundabout next to another vehicle as that car could be planning on exiting at the next available opportunity.
Double lane: When approaching a double-lane roundabout, motorists should see two signs: the yellow “roundabout ahead” sign and a black-and-white “lane choice” sign. Drivers should choose their lane as they enter. Those who plan on exiting less than halfway through should use the right lane, while drivers who would like to exit more than halfway through should use the left lane. Drivers who plan on going straight through the roundabout should simply stay in the lane they are in unless there are signs that direct them to do otherwise.
Drivers who are turning right should enter the roundabout in the right-hand lane, and remain in that same lane throughout. Exiting should be done by using a right turn signal. When turning left, motorists should be in the left-hand lane, remain there until they are ready to exit, and then use a right turn signal to let others know they are intending to exit the roundabout.
A good rule-of-thumb is not to switch lanes while inside a roundabout, as doing so could result in a collision. It is also important to remember that motorists who are inside the roundabout have the right of way over those who are entering it. Pedestrians and motorists may also be using a roundabout, so operators should be aware of their presence and allow them plenty of room to navigate.
Round and Round We Go
Here are a few of the best practices that should be followed inside roundabouts in order to reduce the odds of a car accident occurring:
- Motorists should avoid passing or overtaking other vehicles inside the roundabout.
- Extra caution should be used when exiting, and other motorists should also be made aware of an individual’s intentions through the use of a turn signal.
- Oversized vehicles may require both lanes of the roundabout, so others should give them ample room.
- Drivers should not stop for emergency vehicles while inside a roundabout. Whenever possible, this should be done before entering the roundabout; otherwise, motorists should go ahead and complete navigation before stopping.
- Those who inadvertently miss an exit may simply drive around the roundabout until they come to it again.
According to a study in the city of Oviedo in Central Florida, roundabouts have caused a 90% reduction in fatalities, 76% reduction in injury crashes, 30-40% reduction in pedestrian crashes, and 75% fewer conflict points at 4-way intersections. Roundabouts have also proved to be advantageous to older drivers and pedestrians.
Injured in an Auto Accident in a Roundabout?
With proper knowledge of navigating roundabouts, car accidents can be greatly reduced, but if you’ve been involved in a car accident, click here to read the appropriate steps to take following or call 813-915-1110 for a free case consultation with Tampa car accident attorney Mike Hancock. Our phones are answered 24/7. Or email Mike with your legal questions.