Are Roundabouts Safer and More Efficient?


Entering a roundabout can be a tense situation for some drivers, especially when they are in an unfamiliar area. Even though many road safety experts say that roundabouts are safe overall, car accidents can still happen when navigating through them. If you are unfamiliar with roundabouts, that is understandable because some states and regions have very few, if any. The United States has only recently been pushing to build more roundabouts, as opposed to traditional intersections controlled with stop lights.

Roundabouts are circular traffic flow patterns that reduce the number of conflict points, aid in traffic flow, and enhance road safety. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are 35 percent fewer accidents in roundabouts than intersections. This has led to a 90 percent decrease in fatalities and a 75 percent decrease in injuries nationwide. Over the last decade, the state of Delaware has been advocating for the use of more roundabouts versus intersections.

Roundabouts are cheaper to build, safer, and improve traffic flow, according to some road safety experts. What makes roundabouts safer, overall, than a traditional intersection is the number of conflict areas in each roundabout. A conflict area is an area where two vehicles could collide. A four-way intersection has 32 conflict areas, whereas a roundabout has only eight. The fact that there are way fewer points where vehicles could impact greatly reduces the likelihood of car accidents.

Also, given the fact that there is rarely the need to stop, rear-end collisions are also reduced in roundabouts. Crashes in roundabouts are typically minor fender-benders because most of the time vehicles have to naturally slow down when entering roundabouts. Less violent collisions means less catastrophic injuries.

Roundabouts are also cheaper to build and have lower maintenance costs. These are the reasons why many areas are seeing more roundabouts.

What Are Common Causes of Roundabout Car Accidents?

Even though roundabouts seem to be generally safer than traditional intersections, you can still get into a car crash while traveling through one. This can happen no matter how safe of a driver you are because you cannot guarantee other motorists will be following the rules of the road. There will always be motorists who drive recklessly with little care or concern for the vehicles that share the road with them.

Here are common reasons why roundabout car accidents occur:

  • As vehicles enter the roundabout, someone fails to yield to oncoming or incoming traffic.
  • Making erratic, sudden, and unsafe lane changes, especially without looking before changing lanes or without checking one’s blind spot.
  • Driving too fast, especially for the conditions of the road due to weather or traffic congestion.
  • Stopping the vehicle unexpectedly and without warning.
  • When entering the roundabout, the driver uses the wrong lane while circling, or they use the wrong lane to exit the roundabout, cutting in front of other vehicles.

Determining Fault in Roundabout Car Accidents

It is more difficult to determine who is at fault in a roundabout crash compared to other types of car accidents. At an intersection, most of the time, it is fairly easy to pin fault on a driver because they ran a red light or they were not paying attention and rear-ended someone. However, with a roundabout, traffic is often weaving in and out between all of the vehicles, so it is difficult to pinpoint who is ultimately the cause of the crash. For this reason, it is critical to speak with a lawyer after a serious roundabout accident.

A lawyer can help you in the following ways after a roundabout car accident:

  • Obtain footage: Many roundabouts have cameras constantly filming the traffic, similar to the cameras on stop lights at intersections. A lawyer may be able to help you obtain this footage.
  • Speak with witnesses: Also, a lawyer could interview any witnesses and obtain their statements so that they could use them later at trial if necessary.
  • Have an expert recreate the accident scene: You could give your lawyer pictures and videos of the entire accident scene. Your lawyer could have an expert attempt to recreate the accident to demonstrate which driver was negligent and violated the rules of the road.
  • Use your accident report: A lawyer can review your accident report, which could help build your case.

All of this can be used to prove someone was at fault in a roundabout car accident.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Those Seriously Injured in Roundabout Accidents

Driving in roundabouts can be overwhelming for some drivers. On days where traffic is congested and busy, entering a roundabout can be confusing, leading to a collision. If you have been seriously injured in a roundabout accident because of a negligent driver, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can protect your rights. Call us at (302) 427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.


Delaware Injury Lawyers

R & M Lawyers
Rhoades & Morrow

Our attorneys provide exceptional legal service with a personal touch. Since our founding in 1990, we have helped thousands of Delaware citizens obtain full and just compensation for personal injury claims. We have gained an excellent reputation as the “go to” law firm. Let us put our decades of experience to work for you.

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