Traffic Circle Accident Attorney in Baltimore
Drivers must obey specific traffic laws when entering roundabouts and traffic circles in Baltimore, but some motorists don’t know the laws or fail to follow the rules. Drivers who behave recklessly or negligently in traffic circles can cause severe accidents. When they do, they can be held responsible for the consequences.
At the law firm of Cohen & Dwin, P.A., our attorneys can help you identify all possible sources of compensation for your injuries and related losses stemming from a traffic-circle accident in Baltimore. For over 40 years, our team has advocated for the rights of injury victims in Baltimore and across Maryland.
Contact our roundabout and traffic circle accident lawyers in Baltimore today for a free initial consultation.
What Is a Traffic Circle or Roundabout?
A traffic circle or roundabout is a type of intersection shaped like a circle. A roundabout is usually a smaller, tighter loop than a traffic circle. Small roundabouts are popular in the United States because their design forces motorists to slow down before entering, which helps protect road users in the roundabout.
When a driver approaches a roundabout or traffic circle, they must enter the circle by turning right and continuing in a counterclockwise direction. Drivers entering the roundabout must yield the right-of-way to traffic already in the loop. The roundabout shape and the slow speed of circling traffic should compel approaching motorists to reduce their speed, watch out for others, and maneuver smoothly into and around the circle.
Research suggests that roundabouts and traffic circles are safer for drivers than intersections with traffic lights or stop signs. Common types of intersection crashes, such as T-bone accidents, left-turn accidents, and head-on collisions, are far less likely to occur in roundabouts and traffic circles. They are also safer for pedestrians and better for the environment because cars in roundabouts do not idle at red lights.
Despite their advantages, roundabouts and traffic circles can still be the site of severe car crashes.
Maryland Laws on Traffic Circles
The same traffic laws that apply at other intersections generally apply at roundabouts and traffic circles. The Maryland Department of Transportation offers the following rules to remember for drivers who use traffic circles in the state:
- Slow down as soon as you notice that you are approaching a traffic circle.
- Look out for cyclists and pedestrians nearby and allow them to pass through the traffic circle before you.
- When it is your turn, approach the yield line circling the roundabout and wait for a large enough gap in traffic for your vehicle.
- Never enter the roundabout next to a vehicle already in the roundabout, as they could be preparing to take the next exit.
- Once you are in the roundabout, keep moving. Do not stop unless it is necessary to avoid a collision. You have the right of way over approaching traffic.
- Always keep to the right of the central splitter island and move counterclockwise.
- When you are ready to exit, move to the outer lane of the circle and keep your right-hand turn signal on until you have entirely left the roundabout.
Common Causes of Traffic Accidents at Roundabouts in Baltimore
Although they are generally safer than other intersections, accidents can still occur in traffic circles and roundabouts. Some of the most common causes include:
- Distracted driving – If a driver approaching a roundabout is absorbed in text messages or other distractions, they could overlook other road users in the traffic circle and fail to yield the right-of-way.
- Driver impairment – Drivers who are dangerously fatigued or intoxicated are less likely to be aware of their surroundings and more likely to cause roundabout traffic accidents.
- Reckless driving – Reckless driving behaviors like speeding and tailgating increase the risk of accidents in the close quarters of roundabout intersections.
- Driver inexperience – Many roundabout accidents occur because of inexperienced drivers who do not understand traffic circles.
- Poor road conditions – Poor road conditions, such as large potholes or missing roundabout signage, could contribute to accidents by confusing drivers or making them lose control of their vehicles.
- Mechanical defects – A roundabout accident could occur due to mechanical vehicle defects, such as faulty brakes or steering systems.
What Factors May Determine Negligence in a Roundabout Crash?
If you were injured in a roundabout car accident in Maryland that was not your fault, you have the right to seek compensation from any parties whose reckless, negligent, or wrongful behaviors contributed to the wreck. Investigators looking to determine who is at fault for a roundabout crash typically consider factors like:
- Right-of-way – If a motorist or another road user violated an accident victim’s right-of-way, that party is usually liable if the violation contributed to the wreck.
- Crash type – Many roundabout crashes are rear-end accidents, and the driver that rear-ends another is frequently, though not always, at fault.
- Improper lane changes – Some roundabout accidents occur when drivers enter the circle using the wrong lane and attempt to swerve into a new lane.
Who May Be Liable for an Accident in a Roundabout?
Depending on the circumstances, any of the following examples could be liable for a roundabout accident:
- A motorist who was already in the roundabout
- A motorist approaching or entering the roundabout
- A cyclist or pedestrian navigating the roundabout
- The employer of a road user in the roundabout
- The manufacturer of a faulty vehicle that crashed in the roundabout
- The municipality that maintains the roundabout
How to Navigate Around a Traffic Circle Safely
If you feel uncertain about navigating roundabouts or traffic circles safely, consider the following driving tips:
- Remember that road users inside the roundabout always have the right-of-way.
- Never attempt to overtake cyclists, pedestrians, or vehicles in the roundabout.
- Any time you exit a roundabout from the left-most lane, keep an eye out for vehicles in the roundabout traveling along the outer lane.
- Maintain a safe position concerning other drivers and stay in the same lane until you are ready to exit the traffic circle.
- Never stop while driving in a roundabout, but go with the traffic flow.
- Give trucks, large vans, and emergency vehicles extra space in the roundabout.
Talk to Our Traffic Circle Crash Lawyers About Your Claim Today
If you were injured in a traffic circle accident, contact Cohen & Dwin, P.A., about your claim today. Our compassionate Baltimore traffic circle accident lawyers can answer your questions and evaluate your case during a free consultation.