Roundabouts – those circular intersections where drivers travel around a center island — continue to make their presence known to people throughout the U.S. Georgia is among the states that has embraced this traffic management tool proven to be safer and more efficient than traditional intersections that have stop signs and traffic signals.
Currently, an estimated 200 roundabouts are in operation in Georgia. Another roughly 50 more are under construction in the state, while another estimated 150 are in development. Get used to them.
Near 50% reduction in all crashes
Crucial rules to remember when approaching a roundabout are to slow down, look around and remain in the correct lane, and yield to the drivers already in the roundabout.
There are a number of benefits of roundabouts, but the main one is that they are safer and lead to fewer crashes. Studies have shown that injury-related crashes dropped 72 to 80% where roundabouts replaced traditional intersections. In addition, all crashes fell 35 to 47%.
Crashes that occur at traditional intersections are often at high speeds. Common collisions in these scenarios are head-on, at a left turn or a right angle. With a roundabout, such collisions are basically eliminated as vehicles travel at lower speeds and in the same direction.
Improves safety and relieves congestion
The benefits of roundabouts include:
- Reduction in crashes, specifically severe accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities
- Improves safety while promoting lower speeds.
- Safe for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Relieves congestion and travel delays.
- Proves more cost efficient. Roundabouts usually remain in service for 25 years compared with the 10-year lifespan of traffic signals.
Important tips to remember include drivers in the circle have the right of way, so always look left to see if someone is in the circle and yield to them; while driving in the circle, do not stop for other drivers entering; choose the correct lane before you get to the circle; and do not change lanes in the circle as this runs the risk of a collision.
Benefit from efficiency and safety
It remains a continuing challenge to educate drivers on how to use roundabouts. However, Georgians are growing accustomed to this traffic management tool. For the uninitiated, roundabouts may seem intimidating and confusing. But you will get use to them and benefit from their efficiency and safety.