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Study: Intersections can be less deadly with roundabouts

Both drivers and traffic engineers in Oklahoma and across the country have plenty to be concerned about when it comes to traffic intersections. When two or more roads come together and head off in different directions, the junction point can create a dangerous place as cars barrel towards each other in opposite directions, sometimes at elevated speeds. This means that intersections are often a place for fatal accidents or devastating injuries.

Traffic engineers are concerned with improving the safety of intersections by making the roadways safer. One mechanism that is widely proposed is the construction of more roundabouts, or traffic circles, in the place of traditional perpendicular intersections. One study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation examined 144 urban and rural roundabouts that were installed in the place of previous intersections. This survey bore out the belief in roundabouts for preventing bodily injury and death as fatal crashes fell by 86 percent after the construction of the roundabout. Similar numbers were seen for severe injuries, which fell by 83 percent, and for injuries overall, which dropped 61 percent.

The study attributed most of the gains to the elimination of T-bone car accidents, which happen when the front end of one car smashes into the side of the other car, putting drivers and passengers in both vehicles at severe risk of serious injury. The structure of the roundabout prevents vehicles from crashing into each other in this way. On the other hand, however, property damage crashes in which no one was injured escalated by at least 75 percent.

While engineering can improve safety, it cannot eliminate the risks proposed by drunk driving, texting while driving or other negligent and dangerous behavior. A personal injury lawyer can help people who have been injured in car accidents through no fault of their own to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and other damages suffered as a result of others' reckless behavior on the roads.

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