Roundabouts: A traffic control alternative
By Kathleen Goddeyne -
Organizing the flow of traffic for a town can be a difficult task. There are so many things to consider such as traffic flow, business access points, and long range plans.
When planning a left hand turn at a busy intersection, there are different options to consider.
The four way stop sounds like a good standby, but statistics from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, report that 70 percent of rear-end accidents happened at stop signs between 1996 and 2000.
“Stop signs increase the frequency of accidents,” said City Manager Clint Kinney. “They decrease the severity of an accident.”
Accidents can also occur at stoplights. When the light turns yellow, and the vehicles in both the left hand turn lane and the oncoming traffic lane make a last ditch effort to make it through the light’s cycle, collisions can occur.
Any time a left hand turn is the movement that happens the most; the safest option is a roundabout.
Some citizens have difficulties in roundabouts. Although they can be confusing, they are also quite manageable.
When pulling into a roundabout, the driver does not necessarily have to stop. Although he or she should be ready for incoming traffic, if the circle is clear, you are free to enter. Another important rule to follow while in a roundabout is to stay in your own lane. If you need to change lanes, be sure to signal to avoid collisions. When exiting a roundabout it is important, yet again, to signal so that drivers around you can adjust accordingly.
When used correctly, roundabouts are a safe bet. The speed limits are relatively low, but damage can be done to vehicles and passengers in a collision.
The City of Fruita conducts traffic studies to decide what the best choice is for our roadways and the roundabouts seem to be working.