Roundabouts are becoming increasingly common across Louisiana and many other U.S. states as transportation officials seek to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities reported at signaled intersections and stop signs. As these traffic circles pop up across the state, some motorists are asking whether they are truly safer than traffic lights or stop signs.
Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roundabouts seek to make roadways safer for motorists. They also seek to improve the flow of traffic and cut back on vehicle emissions. Studies show that roundabouts are, in fact, safer for motorists to navigate than stop signs or signaled intersections.
Hazards associated with traffic lights and stop signs
Head-on collisions are among the more common car crashes seen at traffic lights and stop signs. However, many such crashes also result from drivers turning right or left. When these wrecks happen at high speeds, injuries and fatalities are a common result. Roundabouts help reduce serious injuries and fatalities caused in such crashes by forcing all motorists to travel in the same direction and at the same rate of speed.
Benefits associated with roundabouts
Research shows that having a roundabout in place, rather than a stop sign or traffic light, reduces injury-involved crashes by between 72% and 80%. The presence of the roundabout also reduces all types of crashes by somewhere between 35% and 47%.
A study of high-speed intersections in rural areas also showed that roundabouts reduce crashes substantially. Study results showed that, when communities swapped out stop signs for roundabouts in these areas, they reduced injury-involved crashes by 85%.
Most of the studies showing reductions in injuries and crashes due to roundabouts involve single-lane, rather than double-lane roundabouts.