Roundabout crash study sheds light on driver errors

An 18-month study by Washington County revealed several causes of crashes in Forest Lake’s downtown roundabout. (Graphic courtesy of Washington County)
An 18-month study by Washington County revealed several causes of crashes in Forest Lake’s downtown roundabout. (Graphic courtesy of Washington County)

 

Clint Riese
News Editor

(Editor’s note: Last week’s article about the downtown Forest Lake roundabout included an inaccurate statement regarding driver errors attributed to Adam Josephson of the Department of Transportation. The information he provided was misinterpreted by the newspaper. The proper information is provided below.) 

A study of each crash over an 18-month period at the roundabout in downtown Forest Lake reveals several types of driver errors are to blame.

The two-lane roundabout, built in 2010, will in August be restriped by the Department of Transportation to a one-lane circle to reduce confusion.

Joe Gustafson, a transportation engineer for Washington County, last week shared results of the crash history study that took place from January of 2011 through June of 2012.

In five instances, drivers in the northbound, right-hand lane tried illegally to turn through the roundabout onto Broadway Avenue rather than proceeding straight through the roundabout and continuing on Lake Street. In these cases, the crash occurred when the outside vehicle turned left into a vehicle proceeding north (legally) from the inside lane.

Another five crashes involved drivers entering the roundabout failing to yield to exiting vehicles from the left.

Three times, drivers tried to turn right from the left-hand lane while entering the roundabout.

Five vehicles were rear-ended, while one crash was due to a vehicle chaning lanes in the roundabout.

Drivers exiting from the inside lane always have the right of way, Gustafson noted.