Common Causes of Accidents in Roundabouts
October 15th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
You’ve probably driven through a roundabout even if you didn’t know the name for it. As we all know, a stop sign or traffic signal regulates the flow of traffic at a normal intersection. A roundabout, which is essentially a traffic circle, is different because there’s no stop sign. This allows traffic to flow nonstop in a circular pattern until a given driver exits the roundabout.
Popular in Europe and Latin America for decades, roundabouts are now becoming more widespread in the United States. But drivers unfamiliar with travel circles may find them confusing, resulting in roundabout accidents.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about roundabouts:
- In a roundabout, the traffic loop is continuous and unimpeded by stop signs or traffic signals. This means the circular roadway can get pretty congested.
- As you prepare to enter the roundabout, make sure to yield to any cars that are coming around. They have the right of way. If you try to jump in, that’s a collision just waiting to happen.
- You will find mostly single- but also double-lane roundabouts.
Benefits of single-lane roundabouts
Roundabouts are designed with safety and efficiency in mind. Because drivers must navigate a circle, they are forced to drive at a slower speed. Because there are no stop signs or intersections and all drivers are headed in the same direction, there are fewer opportunities for severe accidents, especially head-on collisions. But here’s the rub: while severe accidents tend to occur less frequently, some states are seeing an increase in the total number of roundabout accidents. What are the causes of these accidents?
Common causes of roundabout accidents
Many accidents in roundabouts accidents are due to drivers who exceed the speed limit and end up causing an accident with another car or driving off the road entirely.
The other broad category is drivers who are confused or unfamiliar with roundabouts. Drivers who are lost or not familiar with a neighborhood may enter the circle without intending to. They could become quickly confused, not realize that they must navigate the circular roadway, and instead drive right off the road.
A roundabout crash can also be caused by drivers who suddenly stop their car right in the middle of the circular roadway. The idea is for traffic to flow smoothly and continuously. It usually works like clockwork except when a driver interrupts the flow of traffic. Stopping in a roundabout could easily cause an accident, especially a rear-end collision.
As you enter a traffic circle counter-clockwise, you must look to the left and yield to any cars in the circle that are approaching. Failing to yield to drivers – essentially cutting them off – is dangerous and could cause a collision.
Don’t be a lane switcher
If you are driving in a multi-lane roundabout, there is no need to switch lanes unless you are preparing to exit. Drivers who are confused or unfamiliar with multi-lane roundabouts may find that they are in the incorrect lane as they prepare to exit the roadway. In this situation, it’s best to take your time and go around the circle another time so that you can exit properly and safely. If a driver attempts to shift lanes by abruptly swerving into the next lane to make an exit, he risks a roundabout crash.
If you’re driving through a multi-lane roundabout, be aware of large trucks that require more room to navigate the road. Whatever you do, don’t try to pass them. Be patient and give them the space they need. Anything else invites an accident.
If you are involved in an accident in a roundabout or anywhere else, your first is to ensure all passengers in both cars are not seriously injured. If there’s significant damage to your vehicle, call the police and they’ll send an officer to write up an official report. Bring your car to your local Fix Auto USA body shop for reliable collision repair by our team of highly trained technicians. We are open for business and ready to serve you.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Lake Elsinore, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop serving Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, and Rancho Santa Margarita.
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