Colorado Springs has 40 roundabouts, and they plan to add at least 15 more. City officials say many drivers simply don't know how to use roundabout intersections. That's why the city was trying to educate the public today with a demonstration here at the intersection of South Carefree and New Center Point. Driver's-ed instructors say roundabouts are actually safer than other types of intersections once the public learns how to use them. "It's really an intersection with just a round thing in the middle," said Grant Dewey, G.M. for Master Drive driving school.
But a multi-lane roundabout can be confusing to some drivers. In fact, South Carefree and New Center Point saw the second highest accident rate of any intersection in the city last year, behind only Fountain and Academy. But of its 24 accidents, only two saw injuries. "Your predominant accident at a stop-controlled or signalized intersection are right angle accidents. They're more... They cause more injuries," said Dave Krauth, city Traffic Engineer.
Krauth says roundabout accidents are usually less violent side-swipes, which makes them safer intersections, but he admits the city needs to do more to show the public how to use them. Drivers-ed instructors say round-abouts weren't even in their manuals until a year ago.
"The main thing is to know exactly where you want to get out of the roundabout before you get there so you know whether to be in the right or the left lane," said Stephen Tobias of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Police say there are 3 common mistakes of navigating roundabouts.
Those are failing to yield to traffic already in the roundabout, changing lanes in the roundabout, and attempting to make a left from the right-hand lane when you're supposed to go right or straight. The city will continue working with drivers education programs and the A.A.R.P. to make sure all drivers learn how to navigate roundabouts.