Many times, drivers get into situations where they are unsure about who has the right of way. This confusion often results in accidents and those involved may be unsure about who is at fault. They may accuse each other of being at fault.
Below, our experienced lawyers discuss what you need to know about liability for crashes that occur in roundabouts.
If you were injured in a crash in Windsor or elsewhere in Ontario, our Windsor-based auto accident lawyers are ready to help you pursue compensation for the damages you suffered. Our services come at no upfront cost and the initial consultation does not obligate you to hire our firm.
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Are Roundabouts Safer Than Regular Intersections?
A roundabout is a type of intersection that is not controlled by traffic signals. There is a central island with a road around it. Roundabouts are typically found in places where two or more roads meet.
Unlike intersections with traffic lights, roundabouts create a continuous and more efficient flow of traffic. (That is one of the reasons why the roundabout was built at Windsor Road and Windsor River Road.) This helps to reduce traffic congestion and the potential for accidents – accidents are often more likely to occur in heavy traffic. Even if there is a lot of traffic at a roundabout, it is usually much safer than a traditional intersection.
Roundabouts help to reduce the number of conflict points, lowering the potential for a crash. Even if there is a crash, it is more likely to be less severe than a crash that might occur in a traditional intersection with lights.
Roundabouts are safer than traditional intersections for bicyclists and pedestrians because they do not need to cross multiple lanes of approaching cars. The approaching cars are likely to be traveling at a slower speed than they would be in an intersection.
What are the Rules on Driving in Roundabouts?
There are rules for entering and exiting a roundabout that are meant to reduce the possibility of a crash.
Entering a Roundabout
Drivers who want to enter a roundabout must yield to cars that are already in the roundabout. That means if there is oncoming traffic, you must wait for it to pass before entering the roundabout. If there is no oncoming traffic you do not need to slow down or come to a stop before entering the roundabout.
As you approach the intersection, watch for bicyclists and pedestrians. You are required to yield to them before you can enter the roundabout.
Some roundabouts have one lane, but if there are two lanes (inner and outer lane) you need to be cautious about using the inner lane. If you try to leave the roundabout from the inner lane you could crash into a vehicle in the outer lane.
It is best not to enter the roundabout right next to a car in the inner lane because the driver of that car may be about to exit the roundabout. While inside the roundabout, avoid coming to a complete stop, as you could get rear-ended. Cars inside the roundabout are almost always moving, so drivers might not be prepared for a stopped vehicle. The island in the center of the roundabout may have trees or other fixed objects that obstruct drivers’ view around the circle. They might not see a stopped vehicle until it is too late and may be unable to stop.
Exiting a Roundabout
Watch for bicyclists and pedestrians as you exit the roundabout. By keeping your eyes on the road and not driving too fast you should have enough time to slow down to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to cross without you having to come to a complete stop.
You can exit from the inner lane, but you need to be cautious because a vehicle in the outer lane might be approaching.
Often, drivers use the inner lane when they are not using the first exit from the roundabout. If you are using the first exit, you should stick to the outer lane.
Make sure to use your right turn signal to indicate you are leaving the roundabout. If you are in the inner lane, drivers in the outer lane can see your turn signal. That way they will have time to slow down and allow you to move from the inner lane toward the exit from the roundabout.
Liability for a Crash in a Roundabout
Liability is going to be assessed based on who had the right of way. For example, if you were already inside the roundabout and a car crashed into yours, the driver of that car is likely at fault. Even if you were speeding you had the right of way.
Things may be more complicated if the crash involves two vehicles that were already inside the roundabout. If you got hit by a car in the inner lane, that driver may be at fault. If you were right next to that driver and he or she tried to change lanes or exit the roundabout, that driver did not have the right of way.
Crashes involving bicyclists or pedestrians are almost always the fault of the driver. Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists while entering and leaving a roundabout. However, if a pedestrian or bicyclist darted out into the roundabout and you had little time to stop, the pedestrian or rider may be at fault. If the driver was speeding, he or she may still bear much of the fault – if he or she was not speeding he or she may have had enough time to slow down or stop to avoid a collision.
Contact Greg Monforton and Partners Today to Discuss Your Crash
Crash victims need experienced legal representation because they cannot count on the insurance company to do the right thing and provide the compensation they need.
At our firm, we have been assisting crash victims for decades, recovering hundreds of millions in compensation. We are ready to manage each step of the legal process on your behalf.
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