Reducing Philadelphia T-Bone Crashes With Safer Intersections

June 26th, 2015

An experienced T-Bone accident lawyer knows many right-angle crashes occur at intersections because drivers don’t yield the right-of-way. A right angle or T-Bone collision means one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle so the two cars form a “T.” Drivers who misjudge the speed of approaching cars, who don’t see approaching vehicles, or who run traffic signals, typically cause T-Bone accidents.

roundabout-sign-369972-mT-Bone crashes are one of the most common types of car accidents and often cause serious or fatal injuries. Many of these tragic accidents could be prevented through the use of roundabouts instead of traditional intersections.

Roundabouts are Safer and Reduce T-Bone Crash Rates

Roundabouts are defined by state Departments of Transportation as “circular intersections.” Typically, all traffic must yield at entry to the roundabout. Once vehicles are inside, they go around the circle without stopping. Traffic signals are not required, and drivers must pause to wait for a gap to enter the roundabout and don’t need to worry about yielding or stopping once they are in the circular area.

Roundabouts cause drivers to go slower than motorists at typical intersections. Slower speeds reduce accident risks. Roundabouts also prevent T-Bone crashes and when accidents happen, collisions are usually lower-angle. Lower angle accidents are less likely to cause serious injuries than high-angle T-Bone accidents.

A UC paper explained why roundabouts are safer for motorists. Reduced speeds are just one factor. Drivers are more likely to pay attention at roundabouts than at traditional intersections, reducing the chances of crashes caused by distraction. There are fewer points of conflict in roundabouts as well. Points of conflict are areas where accidents are likely to happen. At a traditional four-way intersection, there are 32 points of conflict. In a typical roundabout with a splinter island (a center island vehicles drive around), there are only eight points of conflict. Fewer conflict areas mean an overall reduced crash rate.

A Transportation Research Board study from 2009 found injury-causing collisions were reduced by 84 percent and fatal collisions reduced by 100 percent at 17 different intersections with high-speed approaches after the intersection was converted to a roundabout.

Roundabouts are much more common in other countries than in the United States. There were more than 30,000 roundabouts in France by 2003 compared to an estimated 1,000 roundabouts in the United States in 2007. Efforts are being made to introduce more roundabouts on U.S. roads. With the passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, Congress made 100 percent funding for roundabout installation available. While some find roundabouts confusing, study after study touting safety benefits cannot be ignored.

As more states convert dangerous intersections to roundabouts, broadside crash rates will decline and fewer deaths and serious injuries will occur in the U.S.

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