PennDOT data shows roundabouts are ‘safest intersection’

Local

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – PennDOT is releasing new data the department says proves traffic circles are the safest and most efficient kind of intersection, beating out traditional traffic light intersections.

Roundabouts tend to get people talking on both sides of the issue.

PennDOT examined 19 roundabouts at 16 locations across Pennsylvania, all are on state roads and at intersections once controlled by stop signs or signals.

“The bottom line is if you’re in a roundabout, you’re in the safest intersection you can be in,” said Jan Huzvar, a PennDOT spokeswoman. “You only have to yield. Traffic doesn’t stop, so you can handle more traffic in the same period of time.”

Huzvar says the new data shows overall crashes are down 34% and that fatalities have gone down from two to zero.

“We studied 19 roundabouts at 16 locations and at those locations, the data was three years before and three years after,” Huzvar said.

PennDOT says roundabouts force cars to slow down and also eliminate oncoming traffic, two things that reduce the chance of crashes.

“The severity of crashes is reduced because traffic is yielding, going more slowly and traveling in one direction,” Huzvar said.

“They’re not wrong. It’s definitely down in accidents but it’s not gone,” said Kaleb Rothenhoefer, a longtime Linglestown resident who works just feet from one of the roundabouts studied. “[Cars] come blazing through, they don’t yield for the person in the circle.”

He believes better-informed drivers and increased signage might help numbers fall even more.

“If the signs that are there, if they were on the road maybe, kind of like how they are in the big city, you know how they have the arrows on the road, maybe people would pay attention to them more,” Rothenhoefer said.

For more information about roundabouts, you can visit PennDOT’s website.

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