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How to Drive Safely Through a Roundabout

Our Cincinnati Car Accident Lawyers at Wolterman Law Office Represent Victims of Roundabout Accidents

All licensed motorists are responsible for understanding and following the rules of the road, from obeying the speed limit and maintaining a safe following distance to using your signal appropriately and stopping at a red light or stop sign. While these traffic rules are fairly straightforward, others cause some confusion, including how to navigate a roundabout safely.

Over the past few decades, roundabouts have become increasingly popular in the United States. Unfortunately, motorists do not always understand the driving etiquette for roundabouts, such as who has the right of way and how to exit a roundabout. While roundabouts are meant to make traffic flow safer, serious accidents can occur when motorists fail to adhere to the rules of a roundabout.

What Are the Benefits of Roundabouts?

Roundabouts offer a range of benefits that other types of intersections do not provide, including the following:

  • They slow down traffic and are considered a safer alternative to 4-way stops, as well as the need for dangerous left-hand turns. According to the Federal Highway Administration, roundabouts can reduce overall collisions by 37 percent, injury collisions by 75 percent, and fatal collisions by 90 percent.
  • They reduce the risk of high–speed, right-angle collisions.
  • Traffic is more efficient during peak traffic hours, resulting in fewer delays.
  • Since there are fewer stops, hard accelerations, and less idling, roundabouts reduce pollution and fuel use.
  • There is no equipment to install and maintain, making roundabouts a cost-effective option.

What Do I Need to Know About Navigating a Roundabout?

If you are approaching a roundabout, you are responsible for understanding the rules and etiquette of a roundabout, including the following:

  • Anticipate the roundabout. There will be signs posted alerting you that a roundabout is coming up. The signs will also show which lane you should be in, depending on whether you will be exiting the roundabout.
  • Yield to the person with the right of way. The motorists already in the roundabout always have the right of way. When entering a roundabout, you must wait for an opening in the traffic flow. In addition, pedestrians in a crosswalk always have the right of way.
  • Traffic moves counterclockwise. The flow of traffic may be different in other countries, but in the United States, it always moves counterclockwise.
  • Do not change lanes in a roundabout. As you approach a roundabout, the road signs will show you which lane you should be in as you navigate the roundabout. There should be no need to change lanes once you are in the roundabout.
  • Signal your exit. Use your right turn signal to notify other motorists that you are exiting the roundabout. This will prevent confusion and reduce the risk of another vehicle entering your exit path.
  • Do not panic if you miss your exit. If you miss your exit, simply stay in your lane, take another complete circle, and exit the roundabout the next time you reach your exit.
  • Give trucks and larger vehicles additional space. It can be challenging for a larger vehicle to manage a roundabout, mainly if the roundabout is smaller and the turns are sharper. Give these vehicles extra room, and do not drive right next to them or try to pass them.

Is a Roundabout the Same as a Traffic Circle?

While people often use the terms roundabout and traffic circles interchangeably, they are different. There are two distinct differences between the two. First, traffic circles often have stop signs or traffic signals within the circle. To enter the circle, motorists must enter in a straight line. A roundabout is designed to keep traffic moving safely and efficiently through tapered entrances and exits. Traffic circles are generally much larger than roundabouts. They are designed to allow vehicles to enter and circulate the circle at higher speeds than roundabouts, where traffic speeds are much lower. Entry points are yield-controlled, preventing traffic jams and allowing vehicles to move.

Who Is Liable for a Roundabout Accident?

If you were involved in a car accident in a roundabout and were already in the circle, the other motorist would likely be considered at fault. For example, if the other driver struck the side of your vehicle after failing to yield while entering the roundabout, they will be liable for the damages you suffered. In addition, if another driver hits your vehicle after suddenly changing lanes to avoid missing their exit, they will likely be considered at fault. In addition to failing to properly navigate a roundabout, a motorist may be liable for an accident if they are speeding, driving while distracted, impaired, or engaging in any other negligent driving behavior.

In some cases, you may be able to pursue financial compensation from a government entity if a poorly designed roundabout caused your accident. For example, if the roundabout is not created in a perfect circle, it can confuse drivers. In addition, if the proper signage is not displayed in the vicinity of the roundabout, motorists may not have ample warning about how to navigate the roundabout and which exit they should take. An experienced car accident lawyer will examine the circumstances of the accident, determine who is liable, and assist you with the claims process.

Our Cincinnati Car Accident Lawyers at Wolterman Law Office Represent Victims of Roundabout Accidents

If you were involved in a car accident in a roundabout, do not hesitate to contact our Cincinnati car accident lawyers at Wolterman Law Office. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident, ensure that your legal rights are protected, and assist you with every step of the claims process. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 513-488-1135 or contact us online. Our office is located in Loveland, Ohio, and we serve clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.