Navigation of roundabouts

Modern rotaries are called roundabouts but they differ from traffic rotaries or circles in several significant respects. Modern roundabouts are smaller in diameter resulting is slower speeds.  Signs and striped approaches map out navigational protocols and the mandatory yield to circulating traffic by entering vehicles has been statistically shown to reduce the number of accidents in Carmel, Indiana.

Historica importance of roundabout technology

The concept of a traffic rotary or circle dates back to 1903 when the French built the first rotary at Place de l’Etoile in Paris.  Since that time, gyratory systems have been engineered in cities worldwide. The first rotary in America was engineered in New York City, only two years after the construction of Place de l’Etoile. The original rotaries were piloted in a fast and somewhat reckless way with circulating traffic yielding to high-speed entering and merging traffic. In the early days, uniform driving courtesies or ‘rules of the road’ were non-existent. And each decade brought an increase in traffic until the rotaries became too dangerous to safely navigate.  Eventually rotaries began falling out of favor in North America.

Modern roundabout engineering

A modern roundabout is an intersection minus the traffic lights. It keeps traffic moving from every direction. Intersections are one of the most complex traffic situations that drivers encounter. With today’s improved roundabout model, there are only eight locations of possible crash encounter while a four-way stop, has thirty-two. Studies have shown that roundabouts have eighty percent fewer accidents with injury than ordinary intersections. And Carmel law enforcement agencies have revealed that damages to property seems to drop as much as sixty-six to eighty-five percent.

Roundabouts are achieving popularity all over Indiana and the rest of the nation. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Manual contains an overhead map which visually explains how to navigate a roundabout. You can view the manual here.

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