Roundabouts Reducing Accidents at South Carolina Intersections
The construction of roundabouts at several intersections in South Carolina has improved safety and reduced the number of vehicle accidents at those locations. The South Carolina Department of Transportation is considering placing roundabouts at other intersections, based on the success of those currently in use.
Data from the South Carolina DOT shows that accidents have been reduced by 66 percent overall at twelve intersections that have had roundabouts installed since 2011. In addition, injury-causing accidents have declined close to 80 percent at those intersections, and fatal accidents have been eliminated. The South Carolina DOT reports that deadly crashes at the roundabout intersections dropped by 100 percent.
The department’s director of traffic engineering says that roundabouts allow for free-flowing movement, as drivers do not have to wait for lights to change in order to enter the intersection. The reduced speeds in roundabouts also greatly decrease the odds of serious injury during any accident that might occur inside the roundabout.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) states that while roundabouts can vary in size, shape, and entry points. Roundabouts have three basic features that contribute to smoother traffic flow and lower numbers of accidents:
- All drivers in a roundabout move in a counterclockwise direction around a center island;
- All drivers entering a roundabout yield to drivers already circling the roundabout; and
- Drivers inside the roundabout typically travel at lower speeds due to the curvature of the structure — about 15 to 25 mph.
According to the FHWA, roundabouts reduce the number of serious injury accidents by an average of 78 to 82 percent. Part of the success achieved by these traffic features is a reduction in conflict points (areas where accidents can occur). A conventional intersection can have 32 conflict points, while a roundabout can have as little as six.
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Sources:https://www.wistv.com/2019/11/09/scdot-data-shows-roundabouts-are-making-south-carolina-roads-safer/ and https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/innovative/roundabouts/