In recent years, the installation of roundabouts in Pennsylvania has proven to be a game-changer for road safety and traffic management. A comprehensive review by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) focused on 36 single-lane and six multi-lane roundabouts at intersections previously controlled by stop signs or signals. The results are compelling: fatalities, injuries, and overall car accidents have decreased significantly, pointing toward the efficacy of roundabouts in enhancing road safety.
Here's what drivers need to know about navigating roundabouts
The data, spanning from 2003 to 2022 and sourced from police-submitted crash reports, reveals a noteworthy reduction in crashes:
- Accidents involving suspected serious injuries are down 24 percent.
- Crashes involving suspected non-serious injuries are down by 51 percent.
- Overall, the total number of crashes decreased by 3 percent.
These statistics paint a compelling picture of the positive impact roundabouts have had on road safety in the state. And Pennsylvania has plans to build even more of them.
Roundabouts vs. intersections
Roundabouts offer a marked improvement in safety compared to traditional at-grade intersections. This is attributed to their unique design, which reduces conflict points, lowers speeds, and simplifies decision-making for drivers.
The geometric layout of roundabouts encourages speeds of 25 mph or less, and all turns within them are right turns. As a result, crashes within roundabouts tend to be of lower severity, often manifesting as low-speed sideswipes rather than the high-speed T-bone collisions common at traditional intersections - especially for left turns.
Pedestrian safety also sees substantial gains with the adoption of roundabouts. The combination of slower speeds and dedicated median refuge areas facilitates safer crossings for people on foot.
Western Pennsylvania roundabouts
In Western Pennsylvania, the success story of roundabouts began around 2011 with the installation of the Ewing Road roundabout at the I-376 ramp in Allegheny County and the Rochester Roundabout at the intersection of PA-68 (Adams St) and PA-18 (Brighton Ave/Rhode Island Ave) in Beaver County. Later on, roundabouts were added at:
- Interstate 70 near New Stanton Route 981 near Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity.
- Ekastown Road and Route 228/Saxonburg Boulevard in Clinton.
- Route 519 at Brownlee and Thomas Eighty-Four roads in North Strabane.
How to navigate roundabouts
As the data continues to highlight the success of roundabouts in mitigating crashes and enhancing safety, Pennsylvania remains committed to the expansion of this proven traffic management solution. With more roundabouts on the horizon, the state is poised to create an even safer and more efficient road network for its residents and visitors alike. Here are some tips on how to successfully navigate Pennsylvania single-lane roundabouts:
Approaching and entering:
- Slow down and be prepared to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
- Approach the yield line, look to the left, and check for oncoming traffic. Circulating traffic has the right of way.
- Enter when there is a safe gap in traffic. If necessary, stop at the yield line and wait for a safe moment to enter.
Circling and exiting:
- Once entered, proceed to drive counterclockwise to an exit point.
- Use your turn signal when exiting the roundabout.
- Watch out for pedestrians in the crosswalk and be prepared to yield.
Justice for Pennsylvania car accident victims
Roundabouts are not just intersections; they are a testament to the commitment to a safer, smoother, and more sustainable future for Pennsylvania's roadways. However, even with the added safety, car accidents will still happen. When they do, injured crash victims can rely on Romanow Law Group to fight for the justice and financial compensation they deserve. If you were injured or a loved one died in a Western Pennsylvania car accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. We can answer your questions and explain your potential legal options.