Literally all around the world roundabouts are steadily replacing traditional intersections. We're sure that by now you've experienced navigating one or more of the several roundabouts just in the Watertown area.
Some motorists find roundabouts confusing while others may wonder why roudabouts are used in the first place. Since first being installed in Wisconsin in 1999, roundabouts have been utilized as a method to attempt to cut down on the "almost 40 percent of fatal and injury crashes on US highways every year." (Wisconsin Transportation Information Center - Fall 2013 Crossroads Newlsetter).
Navigating roundabouts is not as complicated as it may seem. When approaching the roundabout, the traffic currently circling in the roundabout has the right of way. Oncoming traffic must slow down; yield to pedestrians, bicyclists and traffic already in the roundabout; and enter the roundabout when it is safe to do so. Once inside the roundabout, drivers ensure they are in the correct lane and continue to circulate to their exit where they can safely maneuver and leave the roundabout.
Accidents still can and do occur in roundabouts-typicallly because of a failure to yield in those switching lanes and entering the roundabout. However, due to the slower speeds at which the vehicles are traveling, there is a substantial reduction in the severtiy of the crashes.
Education is always the key to further understanding. If you have questions about roundabouts, feel free to contact our office at (920) 262-4040 and/or visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Division of Safety & Consumer Protection's FAQ page on roundabouts.