When traffic studies identify a problem intersection — one fraught with crashes and congestion — transportation officials typically have limited options to improve the situation. But a growing number of municipalities are deciding to replace some of their most troublesome traditional intersections with roundabouts.
Roundabouts typically result in a 37-percent reduction in overall collisions and a 75-percent reduction in injury collisions, according to research by the Federal Highway Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They also typically reduce fatality collisions by roughly 90 percent.
But roundabouts can be a little confusing for drivers unaccustomed to them.
Here are five things you should remember when driving through a roundabout, according to the Washington Department of Transportation:
- Slow down when approaching a roundabout.
- Pick a lane as you approach a roundabout. To turn right, be in the right lane. To turn left, be in the left lane. To go straight, use either lane unless otherwise indicated.
- Yield to traffic in the roundabout. Vehicles in the roundabout have the right-of-way.
- Stay a safe distance behind trucks because they will usually use both lanes. Driving side-by-side a truck in a roundabout can be very risky.
- Do not stop within the circular portion of the roundabout.
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