By Carl Jackson
Sedona Az News – In an era of self-driving cars and artificial intelligence it’s hard to imagine that once upon a time the simple roundabout was a technological marvel.
According to the Department of Transportation, the roundabout was invented in 1877 by the French architect Eugene Henard. But it wasn’t until 1966 in the United Kingdom that the modern roundabout, known as the “yield-at-entry” roundabout, became widely popular. Modern roundabouts then came to France in 1983 but didn’t make their way to America until 1990.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Arizona has about 80 roundabouts as of 2021, more than a dozen of which are in the Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon area. As of 2019, the United States had more than 7,100 roundabouts.
A roundabout has important advantages over traffic control measures such as stop lights and four-way intersections.
Roundabouts keep traffic constantly moving in one counterclockwise direction and eliminate left turns using a center island, known as a “splitter island”. They also naturally force vehicles to slow down.
According to ADOT, roundabouts reduce conflict points between vehicles from 32 in a standard four-way intersection to eight in a modern roundabout.
All these features reduce the severity of traffic collisions.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, roundabouts reduce fatal crashes by 90 percent and injury crashes by 75 percent.
Driver rules are straightforward. Always yield to vehicles in the roundabout as they have the right-of-way.
- But one important rule that is often ignored is to use your turn signal just like you do at a four-way intersection. If you plan to take the first exit in a four-exit roundabout, use your right-hand signal. If you plan to take the third exit, use your left-hand signal. This way vehicles waiting to enter the roundabout know your intentions.
Now you know how to use Sedona roundabouts, the right way.