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Are Indiana Roundabouts Really Creating Safer Roadways?

Generally, roundabouts have proven to be a safer alternative to other, more traditional types of intersections. Not only that, but they also help improve traffic flow by keeping cars continuously moving and reducing idling times. Though drivers can get frustrated when they have to wait for an opening in the flow of traffic to pull into a roundabout, this typically takes less time than it would if they’d had to sit at a red light instead.

Studies have shown that roundabouts have reduced overall collisions by 37%, injury-related collisions by 75%, pedestrian collisions by 40%, and fatal collisions by 90%. With those numbers being reported, it’s no surprise that many states across the country are starting to increasingly implement the use of roundabouts. Indiana specifically has a high number of roundabouts with more likely to come in the following years.

Unfortunately, roundabouts can take time for drivers to get used to and can often lead to an increase in confusion and accidents when they are first installed. Though they are meant to benefit drivers and cities over time, roundabouts can cause frustration and issues for drivers that are used to driving through more traditional intersections. Older drivers especially can get confused and be unsure about how to use them properly.

Roundabouts in Indiana

The Indiana Department of Transportation says they are using roundabouts to reduce accidents, traffic delays, improve overall safety, and even help reduce fuel consumption and air pollution. Across the state, there have been more than 256 roundabouts constructed through 2016, and while these numbers have not been updated, there are certainly many more that have been built since then.

One city, in particular, Carmel, is world-renowned for its number of roundabouts. Since the 1990’s, the city of Carmel, Indiana has constructed more than 138 roundabouts, which is more than any other city in the United States. And local statistics show that the city has reduced injury-related accidents by 80% and overall accidents by 40%.

However, despite Carmel’s appealing accident numbers, many cities find that there is an increase in accidents following the installation of a new roundabout. While there isn’t a lot of specific data to back this up, many claim that the increase in accidents may be due to driver speeds and general frustration and confusion over how to properly use them.

Benefits of Roundabouts

Despite the headaches they may cause for some drivers, roundabouts can have many benefits, including:

  • Improving traffic flow by reducing idling times
  • Forcing drivers to slow down
  • Reducing the number of severe or fatal crashes
  • Safer for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Eco-friendly as they reduce emissions and fuel consumption
  • Are less expensive to build
  • Taking up less space than traditional intersections

The Negatives of Roundabouts

While the benefits should outweigh the cons of roundabouts, some cities may experience more issues than others. Cities with older populations, for example, might find that more of their residents are confused and frustrated by the roundabouts. Other cities with younger drivers who tend to speed might also cause issues.

Some of the negatives that cities may experience with roundabouts include:

  • An increase in driver confusion
  • Issues with speeding
  • Drivers merging in and out improperly
  • Delays in traffic due to driver confusion and hesitancy to merge into the roundabout

Though roundabouts do continue to help with decreasing the number of fatal accidents in cities, they have been found to increase the number of minor accidents. While some believe the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, drivers themselves might become more frustrated when there seem to be more accidents occurring, even if they don’t result in serious injury or cause as much damage.

Consult an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been injured in a roundabout-related accident, our experienced Indiana personal injury attorneys can help. At Crossen Law Firm, our team has years of experience fighting for the victims of car accidents. Whether you are a pedestrian, a cyclist, or were driving when injured, we are dedicated to working tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation at (317) 401-8626.