Roundabouts becoming high priority in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Roundabouts, for some drivers in the valley, can be scary, and could be seeing more in the future.

While the intersection design can seem confusing, the main purpose of roadway is safety. One of the many purposes of the roundabouts is discouraging drivers to cut across another flow of traffic to get where motorists need to go. 

Roundabouts keep traffic flowing and going in the same direction, according to road safety advocates.

"Roundabouts are important to us for many reasons and the number one reason is safety,” Andrew Bennett said.

Bennett is with the Nevada office of Traffic Safety and says roundabouts dramatically reduce crashes and speeds around neighborhoods.

"Speed was a contributing factor in over 100 fatalities last year across the state of Nevada out of the 309 people that we lost on Nevada’s roadways and then we’ve just seen some extremely violent crashes recently that resulted in fatalities,” Bennett said. "A traditional intersection could have 32 contact points so that's 32 opportunities where cars can collide, with the roundabouts that’s dramatically reduced to eight,” Bennett added.

Bennett wants to see more roundabouts around town and says there are many benefits to roundabouts such as not having to sit at a red light, Las Vegas resident Mark Hudgens agrees.

"I'm more frustrated with the red lights than the roundabouts red lights seem to take forever I can get through a roundabout shorter,” Hudgens said.

Several other motorists find roundabouts completely confusing and don't know how they work. 

Bennett says it's quite easy, just remember everything is to the right, the entering driver slows down and yields to traffic in the roundabout, when there is a gap. Drivers enter to the right and stay to the right of the center until exiting.

"Again, they are very useful in the right situation the right place you know you don't want to put them where you have 4/5 lanes worth of traffic but in certain communities I think they are a necessity and would be an improvement,” Hudgens added.

The roundabouts in Summerlin are the first 'modern' in the country.

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