Jeffrey E. Johnston

Roundabouts can help reduce serious injury crashes

People in Georgia who drive on rural roads may encounter surprisingly dangerous circumstances at certain intersections. Because more rural roads have less traffic than urban or suburban streets, speed limits may be higher, and intersections have fewer controls. For example, some rural streets come together with only a stop sign despite having speed limits of up to 55 mph. The likelihood of a car accident can be increased when visibility is lowered at night, in poor weather or when vegetation is overgrown.

Traffic accidents that take place at these rural intersections can be serious, leading to severe injuries and even deaths. The severity of these crashes can be exacerbated by the high speeds involved. As a response, many areas seek to install traffic lights in order to minimize the dangers present. While traffic lights are proven to be effective in reducing the number of accidents at a junction point, they may be less so in reducing the severity of the crashes that do occur. Therefore, many traffic engineers are looking toward roundabouts as a solution for these rural roads. Roundabouts or traffic circles are less effective in reducing the number of crashes, but they can be far superior in reducing the severity of incidents.

When drivers approach a roundabout, they must slow down; they cannot speed up in order to "beat" a changing light or oncoming traffic. In fact, roundabouts are so effective in reducing the serious injuries caused by car crashes that they often pay for their construction in the first year due to reduced emergency expenses.

Distracted, dangerous and other negligent drivers can cause severe injuries or even fatalities when their driving behavior causes a crash. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help accident victims pursue compensation for their damages, including medical bills and lost wages.

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