In America, roundabouts aren’t very much popular, nor appreciated for drivers who appear to get confused with their clever design.
While some roundabouts have 3 or 4 exits, depending upon design, many Americans start to react cluelessly because they just don’t understand them.
Yet, the situation varies in other countries, mostly in Europe, where locals know how to perform once they reach an intersection that extends to a series of roundabouts, either single or multi-lanes.
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In fact, some roundabouts in France, for example, are huge with several exits that connects to other roads, which are way more confusing compared to the small ones that exist in the US.
Think about it. There’s no reason why you should lose your mind once you spot a roundabout, even when you have zero experience driving through them.
Anyway, let’s just explore 5 reasons why Americans aren’t huge fans of roundabouts.
Studies have shown that roundabouts are actually safer than stop sign or signal-controlled intersections.
According to a study made by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), roundabouts reduce crash injuries by 75% at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control.
Yet, again, the fear of driving, especially in roundabouts, is stronger which keeps drivers scared about this infamous type of road design.
It’s also possible that Americans are developing an illusion of safety which is far from reality.
Driving is about getting to a destination first
Roundabouts alleviate and accelerate the flow of traffic at every intersection so everyone gets to their destination, avoiding journeys with continuous stops.
However, that wouldn’t be a great idea for some drivers who are more concerned about getting to their destination first rather than supporting a concept that improves the flow of traffic.
If you aren’t really convinced about it, think about how drivers perform in a highway where a single lane is closed because of construction.
Do drivers implement an organized way of letting other vehicles merge harmoniously? If you are not optimistic about your answer, then you are probably right.
You may argue that the driving culture in the US is all about accelerating and adding pressure to the engine from a dead stop.
But that’s debatable as people can only get away with driving that way in movies.
It may sound wasteful but roundabouts wouldn’t be the ideal place for any driver to press the pedal an accelerate at a speed that is safe and comfortable.
Pedestrians in urban areas
Creating a roundabout can let us build a little park with a statue in the center, narrow the roads by eliminating turning left lanes, and more importantly giving more space to pedestrians to socialize in cafes, restaurants, and other points of interest around the circular road.
Yet, the idea would make you believe that you are living in Europe rather than in the U.S.
According to the stereotype, Americans are more interested in having enough space where to place their SUV and keep a distance from people on their way home or to work
Is that true?
Bad drivers are everywhere but depending on where you live having roundabouts may help a lot.
In places like south Florida, where there’s been a lot of complaints about the way some people drive, building roundabouts may even expose certain habits of some drivers whose driving skills are actually questionable.
Of course, a driving course that stresses the importance of driving adequately through roundabouts can make a difference. But, it would be interesting to see how people with questionable driving skills react to roundabouts.