Roundabouts, also known as circle exchanges, are quite popular in Europe, but have not been used as often in the United States. Highway engineers in the U.S. are introducing roundabouts more often as an option in road construction. There are some advantages to roundabouts, but there are also some serious safety concerns as well. With more roundabouts being used in today’s roadways, many people wonder, how safe are roundabouts?

Advantages of Roundabouts

Roundabouts are a good option for creating improved traffic flow in busy intersections. Roundabouts do not require stoplights, so they are generally faster to maneuver through. There are often stop signs located on at least two of the corners. Roundabouts provide better traffic flow, and are best for use in areas with low to moderate traffic speeds.  While easy to use, they do require some getting used to, especially by those who are unfamiliar with them.

How to Navigate a Roundabout

Many U.S. drivers are unfamiliar with how roundabouts work. Roundabouts require you to drive in a circular pattern. All traffic continues around the circle from left to right. At the corner, you must yield to traffic coming along from the left. When it is safe to do so, proceed into the circle. Travel until you get to your intended destination, where you will make a right turn. You do not stop before turning. It is important to remember to watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Roundabout Safety

The public should be educated on how to safely drive through a roundabout. As with any new driving technique, the situation requires some practice and getting used to. Drivers need to be particularly aware of pedestrians and bicycle riders, since they may be unfamiliar with roundabouts. Bicycle riders must ride as they always do, on the right side of the road, with traffic. Pedestrians should only attempt to cross at designated crosswalks. Trying to cross at any other location is certainly very dangerous.

Roundabout Accidents

Accidents can occur in roundabouts when one driver is trying to exit onto a street and another driver is trying to merge onto the roundabout. If an accident occurs while in a roundabout it should be treated like any other accident. Determining fault could be more difficult, so it is helpful to take a photo of the position of the vehicles in their accident position, if it is safe to do so. Call the police and check for witnesses, who should be helpful to police. If you are hurt, seek medical attention immediately. If you were injured in a vehicle accident that was not your fault, contact a qualified personal injury attorney to review your case.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney regarding How Safe Are Roundabouts?,  or other personal injury matters, call 480.461.5300. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.