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Are Seattle Roundabouts Not as Safe as We Thought?

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on November 9, 2016

Washington area drivers may have noticed an increase in the number of roundabouts on Seattle roads over the past decade. This is due to a concerted effort by the state’s Department of Transportation to install what are considered to be a safer alternative to traditional intersections. And while data certainly supports a decrease in the number of head-on collisions, accidents still happen.

The intention of the roundabout is to make intersections safer and more efficient for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. The Washington DOT offers the following information for safely driving roundabouts on their website:

  • Yield to drivers in the roundabout
  • Stay in your lane; do not change lanes
  • Do not stop in the roundabout
  • Avoid driving next to oversize vehicles

While these instructions may seem straightforward, they are not always clearly marked on the roundabouts, and one cause of accidents is a lack of clear signage. Drivers may not be familiar with the new layout of roundabouts, especially considering that roundabouts can vary in size and design. This lack uniformity is one reason why roundabouts can lead to more accidents.
There are certain types of accidents that are more likely in roundabouts, such as:

  • Sideswiped by a motorist accelerating too fast in the roundabout
  • Run off the road by another motorist who fails to yield
  • Rear-ended by a motorist failing to stop

These accidents are acerbated by poorly trained or incompetent drivers who are not used to driving on roundabouts.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a roundabout accident, it might be difficult to know who can be held liable. It will be necessary to ascertain whether the accident was caused by driver error, a poorly designed intersection, a lack of adequate signage, or some combination of the above. And because drivers tend to be less familiar with the protocols of roundabouts, in the event of an accident you may not be fully aware of the rules and regulations to know who was at fault.

Because of all the complications involved, it is important that you seek out help if you have suffered a roundabout accident. Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. has an experienced team of attorneys who are well versed in personal injury law and can help make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries.

Contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. to schedule a free consultation with a member of our Seattle car accident lawyers. We will explain your legal options in detail so that you can make an informed decision and help you to achieve the best possible outcome. Call (888) 228-3860 today.

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