PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — If you live in Central Pennsylvania, chances are you’ve encountered at least one roundabout when driving.
Roundabouts can appear to be daunting, especially if you are a new driver or you’ve simply never seen one before.
Although they may seem overwhelming, roundabouts aren’t here to scare you. In fact, according to PennDOT, roundabouts improved overall safety because they have fewer conflict points and slower speeds.
Since roundabouts require all right turns, crashes that do occur are just sideswipe crashes at low speeds, PennDOT says. Most crashes at traditional intersections are high-speed T-bone collisions which are much more dangerous.
Pedestrians are also much safer due to slower speeds, as well as only having to cross two one-way traffic roads, PennDOT says.
Studies by PennDOT have found that roundabouts:
- Reduce fatal crashes by 90%
- Reduce injury crashes by 75%
- Reduce pedestrian crashes by 30-40%
- Reduce bicycle crashes by 10%
Not only are roundabouts much safer, but they are also very simple and easy to navigate.
It is important to not overthink the roundabout and to keep traffic moving when you are going through the circle.
Here are some instructions provided by PennDOT of how to enter a traffic circle:
- When you approach the roundabout, SLOW DOWN and be prepared to yield to pedestrians who are in the crosswalk
- When you approach the yield line, look to the left and look for traffic. Circulating traffic has the right of way.
- Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic. If NECESSARY, stop at the yield line until there is a safe gap in traffic. Otherwise, you should not be stopping at the yield line.
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Once you are in the roundabout:
- Proceed counterclockwise to your exit point. YOU now have the right of way, meaning that you don’t have to yield to anyone and you should NOT stop in the traffic circle unless necessary.
- As you approach your exit, use your RIGHT TURN SIGNAL.
- Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk at your exit and be prepared to yield.
- Exit the roundabout.