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Rural traffic roundabouts may reduce car accident risks

After a car accident in North Carolina involving a fatal collision at a busy rural intersection with a stop sign, vegetation was cleared away, and signs pointing out the upcoming stop sign were posted. Serious accidents continued to occur. The stop sign was then replaced with a traffic circle referred to as a roundabout that allows traffic to flow nearly continuously in the same direction around an island in the center. It's a solution that may help reduce the seriousness of injuries and the risk of fatalities in rural parts of New Mexico.

Roundabouts don't necessarily reduce the number of car accidents. They do, however, eliminate the need for a driver to take a "best guess" when it comes to determining if there's enough time to make it through an intersection. With a roundabout, drivers simply have to glance to their left to look for other drivers. While it can cost about a million dollars to build one of these structures, it's estimated that they could save twice that amount in reduced injury and accident expenses.

Some states are combining the construction of more rural roundabouts with "Vision Zero" initiatives based on a concept developed in Sweden in the 1990s. Comprising engineers, educators, first responders and law enforcement officials, the cooperative program has the ultimate goal of creating safer roads for drivers, pedestrians and anyone else who may use them. Busy, high-speed intersections are among the locations where rural roundabouts are being built or being considered to help achieve this goal.

Regardless of whether an accident occurs where there's a traffic circle or a traditional stoplight system, a personal injury attorney can take steps to determine if negligence might have been involved. This process may include reviewing traffic camera or cell phone footage, talking to witnesses and looking for evidence of driver distractions. Injured parties may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and loss of the ability to earn a living.

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