Why aren’t there more roundabouts in America?

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If you’ve traveled to other countries or even in some parts across the USA you’ll probably have seen roundabouts used in your lifetime. I know here in Arizona I’ve seen them about three times on highways way out of the way of the city. But, when they’re used properly and everyone knows the rules they really can speed traffic up.

There’s also the benefit of them using no electricity, no streetlights, and an improved flow of traffic. So why the heck don’t we use roundabouts more in the States? The simple answer is that roundabouts aren’t always the best solution because it depends on the amount of traffic overall. They’re great for intersections that have about the same volume and fairly low amounts of traffic. 

So the two main reasons I found that we don’t use them more often are:

  •  They aren’t good for intersections with an uneven distribution of traffic. This is where traffic lights shine. They can be timed to get a gauge of the regular flow. Some directions are going to need longer lights to accommodate that. 
  • For many places they would work well, lights are already installed.
  • Since we aren’t used to them in the states it’s easier for communities to install lights. 
They’re a great way to slow traffic down as well. You won’t have the same amount of fatalities from accidents you would when it comes to a stoplight. You can’t really speed 50 mph through a roundabout, but you can get up to maybe 25 mph. 


The verdict is they’re awesome – in certain situations. In many countries, they work very well. The Netherlands uses them all over with good results. 

If you’d like to read more about roundabouts, wikipedia has a great article(as usual).

How to use a roundabout?

This is something I didn’t know how to do until very recently, but there’s no harm into owning up to something. Learning is fun. The state of Michigan released a video on their use after installing several. It’s pretty good you can watch it below.



I'm the owner of Beast Auto. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I love anything automotive related, and taking road trips all across my beautiful state.

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