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Commie Corners

Having lived in the USA, Canada, South America and in Europe, we’re gobsmacked about why the USA still hasn’t adopted more roundabouts (or traffic circles.) Why is that? What’s stopping it? To be fair, the United States does use traffic circles, but they are way less common than in most other countries. Several factors contribute to this, and this first one is an obvious one: the U.S. road system was largely developed with an emphasis on straight roads and grid patterns, which are more conducive to traditional intersections controlled by traffic lights or stop signs. But that doesn’t mean that roundabouts should be discarded. Far from it. Watch the video below to learn more about roundabout-itis.

Although studies show that roundabouts can reduce severe accidents, there is a perception that they are more confusing and potentially more dangerous, especially for inexperienced drivers or in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. As another important benefit, reduced idling and smoother traffic flow result in lower vehicle emissions and fuel consumption – another huge win, especially with the number of cars that there are in the US.

And here’s another subtle benefit, especially obvious when roundabouts reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions by eliminating head-on and high-speed right-angle crashes, and when many roundabouts are signed or decorated (flowers etc) to maximise the chances that drivers will react to slow down.

Look! It can be done. Grant Circle in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Yes, American drivers are generally more accustomed to traditional intersections and there will be a learning curve (no pun intended) associated with using roundabouts, including understanding right-of-way rules and navigating multi-lane circles, which can lead to initial resistance or misuse. But the benefits say it all.

C’mon, America: get with it. Hertz can help to make your day easier. Click here.

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