Round the Roundabout

Rick Noack:

We drive through one roundabout routinely and really like them. How about you?

France is ahead of the curve.

The country is among the world’s leaders in circular intersections, or roundabouts. Every 45th intersection in France is a roundabout, whereas the United States lags far behind with one per 1,118 intersections.

That’s a real problem because researchers say roundabouts can save lives. According to data by the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control.” Apart from preventing cars from crashing into each other, roundabouts also saved the lives of countless pedestrians.

Why is that? The Washington State Department of Transportation points to several main reasons. First, curved intersections “eliminate” the possibility of deadly head-on collisions.

Second, the nature of roundabouts forces drivers to reduce their speeds as they approach them. And third, “because traffic is constantly flowing through the intersection, drivers don’t have the incentive to speed up to try and ‘beat the light,’ like they might at  traditional intersection,” the Washington State Department of Transportation writes on its website.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.