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University Town Center Roundabout | Car Accident Prevention | Morgantown WV

Morgantown, WV: Why Roundabouts Are Safer and Prevent Accidents:

Now that Exit 153 off I-79 in Morgantown is open for traffic to the University Town Centre, we are hearing a barrage of criticism about the inclusion of the roundabout traffic circle.

Why it was a smart move to build a roundabout at the end of Exit 153 in Morgantown:  Chiefly, because your life matters!

Statistically, after the inclusion of a traffic circle, the injury crash rate is reduced by 84%, and fatal crashes in some locations have been reduced to Zero.

Replacing a stop sign or traffic signal with a roundabout improves traffic flow and safety because the roundabout's tight circle forces drivers to slow down, and traffic flows in the same direction, preventing the most dangerous types of intersection crashes: right-angle, left-turn and head-on collisions.

  • Roundabouts are a safer alternative to traffic signals and stop signs.
  • Roundabouts improve traffic flow and are better for the environment.
  • Roundabouts generally are safer for pedestrians.

Though initially, roundabouts do cause some confusion, research has consistently proven that these traffic circles greatly decrease auto collisions, truck accidents, and motorcycle wrecks causing injuries.

The biggest safety benefit is that roundabouts essentially eliminate the worst kinds of crashes such as T-bones and head-on impacts.

Roundabout exit 153.png

Even though the roundabout will do nothing to prevent car accidents on I-79 at Exit 153 due to traffic standstills on the interstate or backed up traffic on WVU Football game days, if drivers can make it to the top of the hill, they should be okay. The design of the intersection at the top of the hill off Exit 153 is a smart move for Morgantown and keeps the Granville area safer for everyone.

Frankly, after all of the people we have helped who have been involved in serious accidents, we support anything which will keep the roads safer and more efficient for everyone. I think the traffic circle will work for improving safety for vehicle operators and pedestrians, and it also will reduce congestion and fuel consumption.

The roundabout also slows down traffic, eliminates left turns, and completely takes out the possibility of red-light accidents which account for most traffic accidents.

There will always be the factor of human error, but serious injuries will be rare and infrequent and the accidents within the circle will most likely be no more than fender-benders.

The low-speed rear-end crashes and side-swipes that sometimes do occur are unlikely to result in serious injury. 

(Exit 153, Bill Stewart Exit) Serious accidents off the exit ramp of Exit 153 will be minimized.  A study of 17 higher-speed rural intersections (40 mph and higher speed limits) found that the average injury crash rate per million entering vehicles was reduced by 84 percent and fatal crashes were eliminated when the intersections were converted to roundabouts.

  • Roundabouts are a safer alternative to traffic signals and stop signs. The tight circle of a roundabout forces drivers to slow down, and the most severe types of intersection crashes - right-angle, left-turn and head-on collisions - are unlikely.
  • Roundabouts improve traffic flow and are better for the environment. Research shows that traffic flow improves following conversion of traditional intersections to roundabouts. Less idling, in turn, reduces vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.

  • Roundabouts generally are safer for pedestrians. Pedestrians walk on sidewalks around the perimeter and cross only one direction of traffic at a time. Crossing distances are relatively short, and traffic speeds are lower than at traditional intersections.

Sources:, "Do Roundabouts Reduce Accidents?

IHHS: Two Lane Roundabouts Bring Benefits but Also Some Confusion

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