According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), converting 10 percent of the signalized intersections in the U.S. to roundabouts would have helped prevent around 46,000 motor vehicle accidents in 2012, including 184 fatal accidents and 31,000 injury accidents.
In addition to improving safety, IIHS studies have shown that in locations where roundabouts replaced traffic signals, there was, on average, an 89 percent reduction in vehicle delays and a 56 percent reduction in vehicle stops.
In Myrtle Beach, after years of struggling with traffic and safety issues, the city is considering implementing roundabouts. According to WPDE News Channel 15, in early July, Patrick Sadek, a city engineer, presented a plan to the Myrtle Beach City Planning Commission that involved installing roundabouts at four intersections along Robert Grissom Parkway.
Two of those four intersections have been the site of two fatal crashes within the last two years, according to News Channel 15.
“With the roundabout, you’re coming almost to a complete stop so it’s like you’re reducing the severity of the accident by almost 80, 90 percent,” Sadek pointed out.
If approved, each roundabout would cost around $500,000 to install.
How Do I Use a Roundabout Safely?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), following these steps can help a driver use a roundabout safely:
- Slow down as you approach the roundabout.
- As you pull up to the entry of the roundabout, remember circulating traffic as well as pedestrians and bicyclists have the right of way.
- If an emergency vehicle needs to pass, clear the roundabout.
- If the roundabout has multiple lanes, do not attempt to pass large trucks within the roundabout.
- Use your right turn signal to alert other vehicles that you are exiting the roundabout.
You can find more information about roundabout intersection safety here on the FHWA website.