In recent months, Muncie has seen several road infrastructure improvements to combat traffic problems at peak times in the day. According to officials, that is the primary reason why another roundabout will be added at the intersection of River Road and Nebo Road within a few years. At the conclusion of the upcoming project, Indiana will now have 150 plus roundabouts in the state and hopefully much lower head-on and T-bone crashes.
The intention behind roundabouts is to reduce automobiles’ speed at intersections, decrease accidents caused by confusion over who had the right of way, and improve overall safety and neighborhood congestion. The Indiana Department of Transportation has identified common features of modern roundabouts such as:
- Yield-at-Entry: The traffic that is entering the circle has to yield to the traffic already in the circle.
- Traffic Deflection: Raised islands and pavement markings force traffic pattern in a one-way counterclockwise flow.
- Geometric Curvature: The radius of the circle and the location of entry points are designed to slow the speed of cars while in the traffic pattern.
How to Approach a Roundabout
Although roundabouts have been integrated in the United States’ transportation system since 1905, they are different and can’t be treated as any other intersection. As you approach a roundabout, you should:
- Slow Down and Stay in Your Lane: There are single-lane roundabouts and multi-lane roundabouts. In multi-lane roundabouts, there are set lanes depending on which exit you wish to take. It is important to pay attention to signage before entering the roundabout because if there is more than one lane, you need to know which lane you should be in.
- Yield to Other Vehicles in the Roundabout: The curvature of roundabouts actually shortens the distance in between cars. Make sure that you are giving the driver in front of you plenty of space as they are a lot closer than they appear.
- Yield to Crosswalks: As with any other intersection, always be on the lookout for pedestrians using crosswalks.
Determining Fault in a Roundabout
Roundabouts are effective. They reduce potential accidents, crashes that involve injuries and fatalities and property damage, pedestrian crashes, and have fewer conflict points than traditional intersections. Although roundabouts are effective, they are not accident-free. In accidents involving roundabouts, identifying what type of collision was the cause of your accident may help to establish fault:
- Island Collisions: Roundabouts provide a great space for local artwork to be displayed. There are great examples of this at the roundabout in downtown Muncie and at Walnut and Riggin Road in the northern part of the city. But unfortunately, putting artwork in a roundabout island won’t stop individuals from colliding with the island itself. If you collide with the island to avoid colliding with another vehicle, the path to a personal injury claim will likely be very difficult due to the issue of getting into an accident with a phantom driver.
- Rear-End Collisions: Roundabouts are designed to cause people to slow down, but the entrances and exits to roundabouts are prime spots for rear-end collisions if people don’t slow down. If you’re rear-ended when entering or exiting a roundabout and you suffer injuries, you may have a personal injury claim.
- Sideswipe Collisions: The circular design and motion of roundabouts can cause drivers to inadequately judge the angle and curvature of the circle. This means that drivers may veer into the inside lane of the roundabout, causing a car accident. If you suffer injuries from a sideswipe collision, you may have a personal injury claim.
- Entering Collisions: Also known as a failure to yield, entering collisions are when you, the driver, are already inside the circle but someone entering does not yield to the oncoming traffic. In these cases, fault likely rests with the driver who has failed to yield when entering.
- Exiting Collisions: Common in multi-lane roundabouts, people will often find themselves in the inner lane and needing to exit. Instead of continuing around the circle, the driver in the inner lane may assume that the outer car is also exiting and cut in front of you, causing an accident. Again, in these cases, whoever is not following the exiting rules for roundabouts will likely be found at fault or share the majority of the fault for the accident.
Consult a Muncie Car Accident Attorney
If you find yourself facing injuries because of a Muncie car accident in a roundabout, contact the trusted attorneys at Hensley Legal Group to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today for your free consultation or contact us online.