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The lowdown on roundabouts

A new roundabout is coming to Falcon at the three-legged intersection of Old Meridian Road, McLaughlin Road and Rolling Thunder. With few roundabouts in El Paso County, there might be some confusion as to how to safely navigate them.According to the United States Department of Transportationís website, a roundabout is defined as a circular intersection with traffic traveling in a counterclockwise direction around a central island, and requires that entering traffic yield to traffic already in the roundabout.Why a roundabout?The USDOTís website states, ìRoundabouts are generally safer than other forms of intersection in terms of aggregate crash statistics for low and medium traffic capacity conditions.î Ideally, the roundabout will reduce crash severity, allow safer merges into circulating traffic and reduce speed at the intersection, all while eliminating crossing conflicts by requiring all movements into and out of the roundabout to be right turns, the website states.The National Cooperative Highway Research Programís Report 672 ñ Roundabouts: An Informational Guide states: ìRoundabouts can have traffic calming effects on streets by reducing vehicle speeds using geometric design rather than traffic control devices or traffic volume. Consequently, speed reduction can be realized at all times of day and on streets of any traffic volume.îThe NCHRP report also states that roundabouts could result in lower delays and queues than other types of intersection control.Tips for navigating a roundabout by the NCHRP:

  • Slow down upon approach.
  • Watch for signs and/or pavement markings.
  • Enter when traffic on the left provides a big enough gap to do so.
  • Do not stop in the roundabout.
  • Signal when exiting.
  • If exit is missed, continue around until exit is reached again.

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