Driver Characteristics Associated with Knowledge of Correct Roundabout Negotiation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - right of way, planning - safety/accidents, planning - signage/information, ridership - drivers


Traffic safety, Traffic operations, Roundabouts, Road safety, Right of way (Traffic), Nebraska, Motor vehicle operators, Modern roundabouts, Knowledge, Information dissemination, Highway safety, Highway operations, Drivers, Driver errors, Driver confusion


The period immediately after roundabout construction is the most critical in terms of safety because of relatively higher levels of driver confusion, especially when new roundabouts are constructed in cities where none existed before. Drivers may have limited or no knowledge of correct roundabout negotiation. Although public information and educational efforts before and after roundabout opening can reduce driver confusion, no information is available in the literature on the characteristics of drivers that pose a higher potential for confusion at roundabouts. Drivers’ knowledge of correct roundabout negotiation was assessed and related to their characteristics to identify groups for targeted or prioritized dissemination of roundabout negotiation information. A survey was conducted soliciting information from drivers in five Nebraska cities. The conclusion was that there are identifiable groups of drivers that differ in their knowledge of correct roundabout negotiation. Those with relatively higher levels of knowledge were drivers (a) who were familiar with roundabouts; (b) who drove specialty vehicles such as police, bus, fire truck, or the like; (c) who were younger; and (d) who were male. Drivers who admitted not wearing seatbelts when driving showed a greater potential for incorrectly negotiating roundabouts. As to targeted or prioritized dissemination of information, efforts toward increasing roundabout awareness among nonspecialty vehicle drivers and older drivers should be undertaken.