The Many Benefits of Roundabouts

There are a number of ways to control the flow of traffic in busy areas. The traffic light and four-way stop sign are probably the most well known. But there is another option offers many benefits, too. This option is the roundabout. If you have not driven through one frequently, you may not realize exactly how beneficial these intersections are. Consider the following reasons why roundabouts are a good option for many high-traffic areas.

Safety Benefits

The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) conducted a study showing that roundabouts are significantly safer than a traditional stop sign or traffic signal intersection. In fact, this study showed there were 37 percent fewer collisions and a 90 percent reduction in fatality collisions. Why would this be the case?

A few potential reasons on why roundabouts may be safer are:

  • Low travel speeds. Traffic will naturally move slower through a roundabout than it will through a standard intersection. There’s a lower likelihood of getting into an accident when you’re driving at a lower speed.
  • No traffic light to beat. With a traffic light, there is always the chance that drivers will try to “beat the light.” This isn’t an issue with a roundabout.
  • One-way traffic. In a roundabout, traffic moves in only one direction. This virtually eliminates the chance for head-on and T-bone crashes.

Speed Benefits

It’s true that vehicles move slowly through a roundabout. However, the constant movement of cars means that traffic flows more quickly overall. Since there is less stop and go, everyone gets where they are going faster.

Cost Benefits

The cost of building a roundabout is comparable to installing a digital traffic signal. But, the upkeep and electrical costs are much less expensive. Over the life of the intersection, the cost savings can be huge. This is very important in areas where the budget for public works projects is lower than ever before.

Space Benefits

roundaboutThe space that a roundabout takes up may be a bit larger than a traditional intersection. However, there will not be the large lineup that is often associated with a busy traffic signal. This can be very important in certain areas where there is no room for lengthy turn lanes.

As you can see, a roundabout can be highly beneficial for a number of reasons. Make sure you understand how the traffic flow works in any intersection you come across. Be prepared to react safely if you encounter a roundabout when you are behind the wheel.


The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. It should not replace manuals, instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

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