Minnesota motorists always face a risk of accident or injury when behind the wheel. However, a study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation has found that roundabouts can help to improve traffic safety and cut the number of fatal car crashes. This has been a belief of traffic engineers for some time, but is borne out by the study's results.
When examining 144 roundabouts in Minnesota, the study found that fatal accidents at those intersections decreased by 86 percent after the construction of the roundabout. There was, however, an increase in minor accidents that caused property damage only. The biggest cut in fatal accidents was caused by the elimination of so-called "T-bone" accidents, in which the front of one car crashes into the side of another vehic rate of speed.
The construction of a roundabout prevents a T-bone crash from occurring and tends to lead to a slowdown upon entry. All drivers in the intersection are moving in the same direction. The roundabouts included both urban and rural intersections as well as those with single lanes and multiple lanes. Crashes that caused serious injuries were down 83 percent after roundabout construction and all injury crashes were down 61 percent after the building of the roundabouts.
Despite the safety benefits, roundabouts can be controversial. The cost of construction is approximately the same as a traditional intersection with a traffic signal. Some people find roundabouts confusing for drivers and difficult for large trucks. Roundabouts can also be problematic for pedestrians seeking to cross the street. Whether on a roundabout or in a traditional intersection, car accidents that cause personal injuries can be devastating. When it can be determined that the accident was due to the negligence of another motorist, an attorney can often assist an injured victim in attempting to obtain appropriate compensation.