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Roadways can be safer with roundabouts

Heading into an intersection is one of the most common parts of driving in Oklahoma today; however, it can also be one of the most dangerous. Intersections - the conjunction points that bring two or more roadways together - also bring cars together in various directions, sometimes at higher rates of speed. This can mean that intersections are a frequent site for crashes, including damaging ones that cause severe injuries and even fatalities. Because intersections are such a common point for dangerous car accidents, traffic engineers are concerned about how to improve safety in these areas.

The construction of roundabouts has been one mechanism used to reduce speed and change the approach to intersections in the interests of safety. The Minnesota Department of Transportation conducted a study of 144 traffic circles located in urban and rural areas that receive substantial traffic volume and found a major impact on bodily injuries and fatalities in car crashes. Fatal crashes were cut by 86 percent where roundabouts were constructed in place of perpendicular intersections. The results went beyond saving lives; accidents involving severe injuries were down 83 percent and crashes causing any kind of injury were reduced by 61 percent at single-lane roundabouts.

Of course, some results were less positive. Property damage crashes, which cause injury to cars but not to people, were up by 75 percent at single-lane roadways and even more at double-lane circles. However, engineers noted the positive impact on human life and health. They attributed the greatest difference to the elimination of T-bone accidents, in which the front end of one car smashes into the side of another. These accidents can be among the most dangerous.

While traffic engineers are working to change the roads to make them safer for everyone, roadway construction won't eliminate texting and driving, drunk driving or other negligent driver behaviors. A personal injury lawyer can help people injured in car accidents through no fault of their own to seek compensation for their damages suffered, including medical bills and lost wages.

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