Though the first traffic roundabout in Minnesota was constructed in 1995, they have only started becoming common in the Twin Cities over the past few years. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) estimates that there are about 200 roundabouts across the state right now.
Roundabouts replace t-shaped intersections and traffic lights with circular, multi-lane pass-throughs and yield signs. As Americans, they take some getting used to, but many European cities have included traffic circles for decades. Supporters say that not only do roundabouts improve traffic flow, but they also reduce the rate of car accidents. According to a 2017 MnDOT study:
- Intersections where roundabouts were installed saw an 86 percent reduction in fatal auto accidents
- The intersections also had an 83 percent reduction in serious injuries from crashes
- Putting in roundabouts resulted in 83 percent fewer collisions involving a left turn
Overall, MnDOT reported 80 percent fewer fatal and serious car accidents due to changing a traditional intersection into some form of a traffic circle. Roundabouts have a big impact on traffic safety, and we can expect MnDOT to install more of them at busy intersections throughout Minnesota.
Roundabouts help, but bad drivers still cause problems
Roundabouts are not foolproof. They require drivers to slow down and yield to vehicles already in the circle. An inexperienced or inattentive driver could become confused and cause a crash. Then there the drivers too drunk, high, distracted or reckless to use a roundabout safely.
Getting hit by a bad driver in a roundabout can cause you serious injuries and disable you for life. Even relatively “minor” injuries can force you to stop working for months or years. A personal injury lawsuit can help you get the compensation you and your family deserve.