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Maryland Roundabouts Save Lives, Prevent Car Accidents

Dangerous intersections exist across the United States. Most are dangerous by design, unsuitable to the job of parsing the high speeds or heavy traffic of roads feeding into them. Of course, car accidents are not only the product of road design. Dangerous drivers are a large part of the thousands of injuries and deaths that occur on the road every year.

Part of the solution, in a growing number of states, has been the installation of roundabouts. These circular, concrete islands force drivers to slow down and guide them around to the road they are continuing on.

Around a typical roundabout are four inlets and four outlets. Paired together, opposing directions are often split apart by another, longer and thinner concrete island. This allows for smooth vehicle transfers and removes the danger of striking a car going the other way.

In Maryland, more than 80 of these roundabouts have been constructed and more are planned. Once installed, the average intersection will see a 35 percent drop in car accidents and a whopping 76 percent drop in serious injuries and fatal injuries.

According to the article in USA Today, engineers also vouch for roundabouts as an earth-friendly alternative to stoplights, saving energy used to change the lights all day.

In fact, seemingly alone in the roundabout's negative column, is the question of public acceptance. Even then, the "problem" is not so much a roundabout issue, but an issue with mass acceptance. Still, it is an important issue all the same and one that can pose problems for cities looking to install roundabouts in their busy intersections.

Still, the trend towards roundabouts is growing and, with states like Maryland leading the charge, these concrete islands should see a significant increase in implementation in the coming years.

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1 Comment

I live in a neighborhood with a roundabout but the neighbors typically ignore the signs and go the wrong way to save 40 feet of travel. The problem is my kid doesn't expect to see cars going that way. any suggestions? eventually someone will get hurt

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