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Roundabouts May Prevent Serious Accidents in South Carolina

Hilton Head, SC auto accident attorneyThe Post and Courier recently reported on the increasing number of roundabouts in South Carolina, despite ongoing opposition.

The first roundabout in South Carolina was built on Hilton Head Island some 20 years ago, when there were fewer than 200 roundabouts nationwide. Today there are more than 3,200 nationwide and dozens in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation acknowledged there is still opposition to every roundabout built. Motorist confusion is a primary issue. But on balance, roundabouts do reduce the likelihood of a serious crash as compared to traditional intersections.

Today, Mount Pleasant has more than a dozen roundabouts, with more being planned. Myrtle Beach has build nine roundabouts in recent years. More roundabouts may replace intersections throughout South Carolina in years to come.

Roundabout Safety Tips for Motorists and Pedestrians

South Carolina DOT offers a number of safety tips:

Roundabout driver safety tips:

  • Yield to other drivers within the roundabout.
  • Don’t change lanes or attempt to pass.
  • Don’t stop in a roundabout.
  • Avoid traveling next to large trucks.
  • Use your turn signals appropriately.

Roundabout pedestrian safety tips:

  • Use crosswalks.
  • Never cross to the center island. Use the splitter island to cross one approach at a time.
  • Only proceed when you are sure a driver sees you and will stop for you.

Bicyclists are urged to obey traffic laws when riding and pedestrian laws when walking a bicycle around a roundabout.

Roundabouts Reduce Head-on, T-bone Intersection Risks

Safety advocates and traffic engineers contend roundabouts reduce major intersection collisions by 75 percent. These circular intersections eliminate left turns, which in turn drastically reduces the risk of head-on and t-bone collisions at higher speeds.

South Carolina has turned 17 dangerous intersections into roundabouts. No fatal accidents have been reported at those roundabouts since completion of construction.

Roundabouts also reduce the risk of serious and fatal pedestrian collisions, both because motorists are traveling at slower speeds, and because a pedestrian must only focus traffic coming from one direction, rather than three.

There is no question these traffic-control devices can cause motorist confusion in the beginning. However, there is a real chance for significant reductions of intersection collisions and that is good news. Several Mount Pleasant residents who were against roundabouts when their installation began 20 years ago recently told the Post and Courier they have come to see their value and are pleased that additional roundabouts are being installed.

From a liability standpoint, roundabouts will be just one more factor your South Carolina car accident attorney uses in determining all of the facts and circumstances responsible for your collision. Choosing a law firm with experience litigating the issues in cases involving roundabout intersections will provide you with the best chances of making a successful claim.

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