Why do people say roundabouts are safer than regular intersections? I think they’re scary and confusing.

The day you’ve been dreading for nearly 17 years has finally arrived: your daughter just received her driver’s license and wants to take the car out on her own.

You know that she is completely capable and you’ve taken her to practice on every street within a 10 mile radius, including 190, Kempsville and Great Bridge. You know she‘s familiar with the roads, but you’re still not quite sure about letting her go by herself. Finally you concede and give her the keys. You begrudgingly wave her goodbye as she pulls out of the driveway and with much trepidation, you go back into the house to anxiously await her return.

After about ten minutes, your phone rings. You almost drop it when you see it’s her, fearing the worst. “Honey...what’s wrong?”

“Hi, Daddy. I think I may be lost. I’m on Old Oak Grove but I need to be on Green Tree. Should I just go straight to the roundabout, or turn on Green Tree Circle?”

You pause a moment to think before replying. Which way is safer? Should you tell her to take the roundabout or take her a little out of her way to take the normal intersection?

The Safety Features of Roundabouts Compared to Conventional Intersections

Although regular intersections may appear to be more straightforward, with clear-cut rules, a lot of intersection accidents occur as a result of head-on collisions and abrupt stops from stop-and-go traffic. Roundabouts are designed to address these issues by:

  • Limiting stop-and-go traffic
  • Eliminating fear of other motorists running a light
  • Decreasing turning guidelines such as “No turn on red” or confusion over which vehicle has priority in making a turn
  • Increasing traffic awareness, since you must pay attention to the entire circle in order to merge into it
  • Preventing crossover traffic (motorists turning in front of you)
  • Eliminating head-on collisions by moving all traffic in the same direction


As long as you’re comfortable with roundabout procedures and are aware of the proper use of the lanes, roundabouts are much more efficient and less dangerous than normal intersections. However, although inherently safer, if you’re not familiar with roundabouts, or guide signs aren’t clearly marked, navigating a roundabout could not only be difficult, but could cost you a police citation. Make sure you’re aware of the rules and avoid common errors to prevent a ticket.

Have questions about roundabout safety, or believe that you received a roundabout citation in error? Contact us today to learn more about reckless driving laws, safe driving techniques, and your rights as a motorist. We’re here to help you, so don’t hesitate to fill out the contact information on this page.