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Roundabouts are designed to be safer and more efficient than a traditional intersection. The design of the roundabout creates a low speed (20 to 30 miles per hour) environment and prevents high-angle crashes such as “T-bone” crashes. Low-angle, low-speed crashes tend to be less severe than higher-angle, high-speed crashes.
Yes, vehicles are able to move more quickly through the intersection because of the "yield at entry". Drivers only have to watch for traffic from the left, and if there is an adequate gap available, they can enter the intersection without stopping. Once in the roundabout, drivers have the right-of-way, so they will not have to stop or yield to exit. If the driver does need to yield at entry to traffic inside the roundabout, their delays are brief and typically less than the time they would have been delayed at a traffic signal.
Incorporated into the design of roundabouts is something called a truck apron. The truck apron is the area between the central island and the roadway that is mountable by larger vehicles but not used by passenger vehicles. Typically this area is concrete versus the roadway which is asphalt.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration, roundabouts reduce the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by 78 to 82% when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections, per the AASHTO Highway Safety Manual.