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Roundabouts Slowing Drivers and Improving Roadway Safety

If you’ve been here for a while, you may have noticed the increase in the number of roundabouts that keep popping up along our roadways. They’ve been spreading like wildfire out there over the last 15 years. Officials see them as an easy and cost effective way to try and slow down drivers. Unfortunately, county officials are noticing that they’re throwing drivers for a loop — oftentimes confusing drivers more than helping them. So, are they working?

According to the Sun Sentinel, Broward officials find that slower is safer, which is true but getting the drivers to slow down is another battle. Areas that have roundabouts typically see fewer accidents, reports the Transportation Research Board. But that’s not in all locations.

Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys understand that there were two roundabouts removed from the area because they didn’t decrease driver’s speeds at all. On the other hand, there are areas with roundabouts that have seen the number of accidents decrease by about 75 percent. Currently, there are about 3,000 roundabouts in the U.S. Close to 1,000 of them were added in the last 10 years.

We can only expect more in the future, too. They’re one of the most cost effective ways to help to eliminate congestion, according to experts. There are already plans for roundabouts on Lyons Road just west of Lake Worth to help to keep the traffic flowing around a nearby school.

What are the pros and cons of these traffic devices?

-They don’t require a lot of maintenance. Traffic lights on the other hand require a lot of attention and funds to keep working properly.

-Roundabouts force drivers to slow down. They also work to reduce delay by forcing drivers to yield instead of stop.

-Unfortunately, they don’t work everywhere — like the two roundabouts that were removed in the Fort Lauderdale area.

-These areas also cause confusion. Sometimes drivers even freeze when they get to a roundabout. Experts say that this is only common to new users though and drivers typically warm up to the idea after they get used to how they work.

-Roundabouts can be dangerous if an oncoming driver doesn’t anticipate others in the roundabout.

The truth of the matter is that roundabouts are here to stay. In most situations, a modern roundabout can handle higher traffic volumes with less delay than traffic signals. Even with drivers slowing down to 15-25 mph. Motorists aren’t always stopping for traffic lights.

Researchers also say they’re here to stay because they help to reduce the risks of accidents for other kinds of travelers. They help to reduce the risks of pedestrian accidents by up to 40 percent, the risks of bicycle accidents by close to 10 percent and they are able to increase traffic capacity by enhancing traffic flow by up to 50 percent. It’s a win-win for everyone if we can all use them properly.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a traffic accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Gonzalez & Sharp for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Dangerous I-95 Interchange Claims Another Life, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, February 16, 2013

Florida Teen Drivers Need Use Extra Caution During Tourist Season, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, February 10, 2013

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