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WJTV Special Report: Escape the Scrape, navigating the roundabout

JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) - Roundabouts have been used for years in Europe and abroad as a means of keeping traffic moving and minimizing accidents.

More and more communities here in Mississippi are adopting the practice. Modern roundabouts move traffic through an intersection without the aid of a traffic signal. 

There are many advantages of using one but, to use them properly, you have to know the rules of the road.

Roundabouts come in all sizes. This one at the entrance to Jackson's Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport is fairly large.

These two in Downtown Jackson on Capital Street are much smaller and separated by just a block.

And this Madison subdivision has one with just three entrances and exits.

Or this very small one in the Belhaven Heights Historic District in Jackson replaced two stop signs several years ago.

Love them or hate them...traffic engineers are designing them and cities are using them more often.

AND THIS VERY SMALL ONE IN THE BELHAVEN HEIGHTS HISTORIC DISTRICT IN JACKSON REPLACED TWO STOP SIGNS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. 

LOVE THEM OR HATE THEM..TRAFFIC ENGINEERS ARE DESIGNING THEM AND CITIES ARE USING THEM.

"It works great for us as long as you know how to use it," says Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal.

Chief John Neal is referring to the intersection at Old Agency Road and Highland Colony Parkway. It's where the mothership of roundabouts in the tri-county area sits. The City even published a brochure on the multi-lane roundabout to educate drivers on how to drive it....which boiled down to two things - yielding and choosing the correct lane.

"If you are going straight through you need to be in this lane or this lane if you are making a right turn," says Neal.

The left lane allows left turns, u-turns and straight ahead movements. The right lane manuever includes immediate right turns or straight ahead movement.

Always yield to vehicles inside the roundabout as well as those exiting. Never change lanes while on the inside and slow down, most roundabouts are designed for speed of twenty miles per hour or less.

"Put your phone down, don't be distracted going into those roundabouts. Pay attention to the signage and you should be ok," said Sgt. Patrick Taylor of the Madison Police Department.

Thousands of cars go through this roundabout every day. Police Chief Neal says there are maybe three or four accidents a month, a low amount for such a high volume.

"It's usually just a little sideswipe where you crush a little bit of metal, back quarter panel, something like that, a taillight.  It's never been anything major, just enough to inconvenience somebody and damage a pretty car".  

Large or small... for a roundabout to function properly drivers must follow the rules of the road.

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Roundabouts have been shown to reduce overall collisions by 37 percent and fatal collisions by 90 percent when compared to traditional intersections.


 


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