ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Drivers are 75% less likely to be injured crossing a roundabout than a traffic-light intersection, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
“We have seen an increase in collisions at this particular location,” Ellensburg Police Department Public Information Officer Clayton Self said. “I think it creates a challenge here because of the truck traffic.”
The truck stop roundabout off I-90 is very narrow, and the extra turning lanes often confuse drivers, Self said. The roundabout connects I-90 and US 97.
“We actually had a semi-reversal down this lane here last year and the traffic was down for a good five or six hours,” Self said.
Self said it was important for drivers to slow down and give tractor-trailer drivers more time to cross the roundabout.
“When I try to get a space to get into the roundabout, people sometimes give you a middle finger because it’s a big truck,” said commercial truck driver Rejveer Sandhu.
As a truck driver for a year and a half, Sandhu said he once waited ten minutes for someone to let him in at a roundabout.
Collisions at roundabouts are usually caused by a driver who failed to give way, Self said.
Drivers should know which exit they plan to take before entering the roundabout, Self said. He said drivers can’t stop in the middle if they miss their exit.
“I’m kind of a chicken, I’d probably go down another block or two, then try to get my bearings, then try to cross the roundabout again,” Seattle driver Robert Kearn said.
Ellensburg Police officers and Washington State Patrol Troopers are trying to keep traffic flowing and setting a good example of how to cross the roundabout safely.