Roundabout Accidents in Maryland: Determining Which Driver Could be at Fault

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on March 8, 2023

busy roundabout during the dayThere are many reasons why roundabouts can be safer than traditional intersections. Despite the advantages roundabouts have over traditional intersections, crashes can still occur. Determining who is at fault may be difficult.

Victims of roundabout accidents should consider contacting an experienced law firm to discuss legal action. Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices has been advocating for those injured in motor vehicle collisions for decades. Our Maryland auto accident attorneys have secured compensation for many crash victims.

If you think the crash was caused by the other driver’s negligence, there may be a case, and we are ready to help you through each part of the legal process. Our services come with no upfront fees. An initial meeting with a qualified lawyer is also free of charge.

Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices. Call for legal help: 410-401-9979.

What is a Roundabout?

Roundabouts are a type of intersection that do not contain traffic lights. There is an island in the middle with a road around it. Traffic moves around the circle in a counterclockwise direction.

The cars in the roundabout have the right of way. However, when you approach the roundabout, if the road is clear, you do not have to come to a complete stop before proceeding.

Roundabouts are quite common in Europe, but they are becoming increasingly common in the U.S.

According to the Maryland State Highway Administration, there are three roundabouts in Baltimore County:

  • York Rd. at Dulaney Valley Rd.
  • MD 372 at Hilltop Road
  • MD 702 at Hyde Park Road

Benefits of Roundabouts Compared to Traditional Intersections

Research has shown that roundabouts are often safer than traditional intersections. This is because there are fewer conflict points. Roundabouts offer a more efficient flow of traffic. At a traditional intersection, traffic can get backed up while drivers wait for a light to change.

In February 2010, the Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA) published a study on the effects of replacing traditional intersections with roundabouts in the state. The study found significant reductions in the number of crashes and the number of injury crashes:

  • Lisbon Roundabout in Howard County – 84 percent decrease in crashes and 92.2 percent decrease in fatal crashes per year
  • Lothian Roundabout in Anne Arundel County – 49.6 percent decrease in crashes and 79.2 percent reduction in injury crashes per year
  • Taneytown Roundabout in Carroll County – 82.1 percent decrease in crashes and 89.3 percent reduction in injury crashes per year
  • Leeds Roundabout in Cecil County – 46.8 percent reduction in crashes and 93.1 percent reduction in injury crashes per year

There is much less traffic congestion at roundabouts compared to regular intersections. Congestion increases the risk of aggressive driving, which makes crashes more likely.

At a traditional intersection, there is often a lot of confusion when traffic lights are not working. However, this is not an issue with a roundabout.

Rules on Driving Through Roundabouts in Maryland

Maryland’s State Highway Administration has an extensive list of rules on driving through roundabouts in the state.

First, when you approach a roundabout, reduce your speed. Watch for pedestrians and bicyclists who are waiting to cross the road, as you are required to yield to them.

The cars that are already in the roundabout have the right of way. You need to wait for enough of a gap in traffic to safely enter the roundabout. Some roundabouts have two lanes and if this is the case, avoid entering the roundabout next to another vehicle. That vehicle’s driver may be about to exit the roundabout.

If you are planning to turn right out of the roundabout, stick to the far-right lane when you enter the roundabout. If you are trying to go straight, you can enter either lane when you go into the roundabout. Before you reach your turn, put on your right turn signal and leave it on until you exit the roundabout.

When you are in a roundabout, you should never stop unless you need to do so to prevent a collision.

Avoiding a Collision in a Maryland Roundabout

Following the rules on driving through roundabouts should help reduce your risk of a collision. For example, do not speed through the roundabout. Slow down on your approach and wait for traffic to clear.

Stopping in a roundabout is incredibly dangerous. You are required to keep moving unless you need to stop to avoid a crash. Other drivers are expecting you to continue moving, and they may be unable to avoid hitting your vehicle if you stop.

Drivers need to exercise caution when changing lanes inside a roundabout. Use your turn signal and wait for traffic to clear.

Make sure to yield to bicyclists and pedestrians who are trying to cross the road.

Liability for Roundabout Crashes in Maryland

Most roundabout accidents happen because of driver negligence. For example, you may have gotten hit by a driver who violated your right of way. If you had the right of way when you got into a collision, the other driver is likely at fault for your damages.

If a driver attempted to exit the roundabout from the inner lane while you were in the outer lane, that driver is likely at fault.

Unfortunately, many drivers do not know what they are supposed to do in a roundabout. They may stop to let drivers outside of the roundabout enter. This is incredibly dangerous because other drivers in the roundabout may not be able to stop to avoid a collision.

Keep an eye out for bicyclists and pedestrians. You do not always have to come to a complete stop before entering a roundabout, but sometimes you do. Roundabouts are different from traditional intersections but there are still right-of-way rules that must be followed.

If you were injured in a roundabout crash and you think you were doing everything correctly, you may have a case. In Maryland, victims cannot bear any fault for a crash because state law prohibits the recovery of compensation if they are partially at fault. However, you should not assume partial fault. Talk to an experienced lawyer about your accident.

Compensation May be Available. Call to Learn More

Recovering full compensation after a car crash can be a challenge, as the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be looking to deny liability. Victims who have an attorney often fare better in settlement negotiations.

Our attorneys work on contingency, which means there are no upfront fees and no fees while working on your case.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Call 410-401-9979.