Intersections have been a part of urban planning and road design for centuries. Even before the rise of motor vehicles, there were crossroads where major thoroughfares intersected. Any place where vehicles must share space while moving in different directions is a location where crashes are a major concern. A large number of collisions each year take place at busy intersections.
Most major intersections utilize traffic lights, clearly established lanes and/or stop signs to control the flow of traffic and limit the number of collisions that occur. In recent years, there has been a move away from this simplistic approach, with more municipalities embracing the idea of roundabouts.
A roundabout is a circular path around what used to be an intersection. Drivers continue moving in a circle and must yield to those already traveling through the roundabout. When traffic levels are low, motorists may not need to stop at all. Why are roundabouts becoming a more common solution when there is a road expansion or renovation in Tennessee?
Left-hand turns are actually quite dangerous
One of the primary goals behind the use of roundabouts at intersections is to control the flow of traffic and eliminate dangerous maneuvers. Left-hand turns are a perfect example. They are responsible for more than three-fifths of the intersection collisions that occur in the United States.
Right-hand turns and proceeding straight through an intersection have less of an association with crashes, but can still cause wrecks when others are unsure of what a driver intends to do or when people fail to properly observe their surroundings. Roundabouts help lower crash rates by eliminating actual turns, although collision risk at an intersection with a roundabout can be higher initially as the community learns how to utilize the roundabout.
The unfortunate truth is that there are people who get behind the wheel after drinking or who focus on a phone instead of the road, and those irresponsible motorists can still cause major collisions regardless of the safety infrastructure that has been put into place for the benefit of all. Ultimately, learning more about the risk inherent in different types of maneuvers may help some motorists select safer routes or better employ defensive driving tactics at busy and potentially dangerous intersections where others may not be paying attention.