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Roundabout Accidents

Roundabout accidents are often caused by inexperience, stopping abruptly, inattention or distraction, misinterpreting traffic signals, and failing to yield.

Roundabouts improve traffic flow as speed breakers and prevent accidents on four-way lanes. However, it is important for drivers to understand how to use these roundabouts; otherwise, accidents can occur.

roundabout intersection

How to find out who is at fault?

While there are quite a few roundabouts in the St. Louis area, some drivers fail to understand how to use them properly. These drivers may get confused and panic at the last moment, thus causing an accident.

Who has the right of way?

In most motor vehicle accidents, a person is more likely to have a successful claim if they had the right of way at the time of the accident. In a roundabout, the driver already in the traffic circle has the right of way, and other drivers should stop and wait their turn before entering the roundabout. The driver who tries to beat the driver who has the right of way around the circle by pulling ahead is likely liable for the crash.

Is it a Rear-End Accident?

You cannot always claim that the vehicle hitting from behind is at fault, but in the case of roundabouts, this is often the case. In a roundabout, the following distances are short, so it is important to be extra careful to prevent rear-end collisions while turning. If the distance is too short, the following vehicle is likely to collide with the leading vehicle if the leading vehicle has to brake suddenly.

Changing lanes can also contribute to an accident

It is important to understand that changing lanes while driving can cause serious accidents. If someone was changing lanes, and there was an accident, the following car would often be able to hold the other driver liable. In a multi-lane roundabout, it is the driver’s responsibility to know whether or not to enter a particular lane.

If, by mistake, a driver enters the wrong lane and swerves sharply into the roundabout, it may cause accidents or cause a pileup.

Common Causes of Roundabout Accidents

Many factors can contribute to roundabout accidents. Some of the most common causes include:

Inexperience

In the U.S., there are thousands of roundabouts. As such, many drivers may not be familiar with how to navigate them properly. This lack of experience and knowledge can lead to serious accidents if drivers fail to yield or make dangerous decisions due to confusion. Additionally, inexperienced drivers may not recognize the unique traffic patterns associated with roundabouts, further increasing the risk of an accident. 

Stopping Abruptly

As mentioned earlier, many drivers are inexperienced regarding the complexities of navigating roundabouts. Drivers may be unsure of what to do and feel the need to come to a complete stop to make sure they are following the rules. These stop-and-go actions could unintentionally create a chain reaction on the roads, leading to potential vehicular emergencies such as collisions.

Another reason for abrupt stopping is that some drivers misjudge their speed or distance from other vehicles. For example, if a driver is approaching a roundabout and sees a car already in the circle, they may feel the need to brake suddenly to avoid colliding with the other vehicle. However, this sudden stop can cause problems for other drivers who may not have anticipated the stop and may not be able to react in time.

Inattention or Distraction

Another primary cause of roundabout accidents is inattention or distraction on the part of drivers. For example, some distracted drivers may think that, as a roundabout is a circular intersection, they still have the right of way, when in actuality, the opposite is true. It’s the vehicle entering the circle that must yield to all other traffic.

Also, if a driver takes their eyes off of the road for even one second while maneuvering through a roundabout, they can enter an unfamiliar lane of travel and fail to see oncoming vehicles. This situation can become increasingly dangerous when there are multiple exits within the same roundabout.

Misinterpreting Traffic Signals

Some roundabouts have traffic signals to indicate when it is safe for drivers to enter or exit the roundabout. If a driver misunderstands the signals or ignores them, it can lead to an accident.

Other causes:

  • Inclement weather: Poor visibility or slippery road conditions due to inclement weather can also increase the risk of roundabout accidents.
  • Vehicle malfunctions: If a driver’s vehicle has a malfunction, such as a flat tire or brake failure, it can increase the risk of an accident in a roundabout.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers

If you get into a roundabout car accident, you should take pictures of the damage and accident scene. Additionally, you should also collect the contact information of any eyewitnesses. All the evidence you gather will make it easy for you to prove your claim. It is also in your best interests to speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can protect your rights and will ensure you receive the compensation you are legally entitled to.


Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

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Updated: January 9, 2023