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Why has Georgia started installing more roundabouts?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2023 | Car Accidents

Crashes in Georgia occur for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, poor maintenance or defective parts lead to vehicles failing in traffic. Other times, rainy or foggy weather conditions impact people’s ability to drive safely. Most significant collisions occur because of mistakes that drivers make in traffic. They don’t maintain an appropriate following distance, exceed the posted speed limit or otherwise engage in unsafe conduct. Lawmakers and urban planners are constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce crash risk.

In recent years, the installation of roundabouts has become a common way to reduce collision risk at certain intersections. Municipalities may design new roads with roundabouts instead of intersections or even install roundabouts at locations that previously had traffic lights or stop signs. The goal of these design changes is to reduce collision risk.

Roundabouts proactively address two common traffic mistakes

Intersections are the location for many of the worst collisions in Georgia, and the vast majority of these wrecks are preventable. There are two choices that drivers make at intersections that frequently lead to crashes.

One is the decision to not come to a complete stop. A surprising number of drivers may roll through four-way stops and intersections with street lights despite knowing that they should come to a complete stop. These drivers can cause crashes when other people with the right of way also proceed through the intersection.

Additionally, many people cause collisions by turning left at intersections. These slow, wide turns expose vehicles to multiple lanes of oncoming traffic and are a leading cause of intersection collisions. Particularly when traffic is heavy or people fail to use turn signals, left-hand turns are a major safety risk.

No one actually turns in a roundabout. They enter the appropriate lane of traffic and proceed to the right exit from the roundabout. They also don’t have the option of proceeding straight through the intersection, although they may fail to yield as they should. With all of that said, it’s worth noting that although roundabouts can potentially reduce crash risk, there is a relatively steep learning curve to utilizing them.

Understanding what motivates different road design decisions can help people make safer choices about how they drive, whether they are experienced roundabout users or are new to this kind of infrastructure.