Monday, June 16, 2008

Unsafe At Many Speeds

Do street signs make us less safe? This article argues that they do, by making excessive demands on drivers' attention and training them to not think. It makes the case for, amongst other things, roundabouts over four-way stops, on the grounds that at a four-way stop, drivers look at signs off to the side of the road instead of looking in front of them; at roundabouts, on the other hand, focus remains on traffic.

I've also seen the argument that roundabouts are better because traffic proceeds through them more slowly. Also, I think they have better failure modes. If you don't notice a stop sign, it's easy to drive through an intersection at or near full speed, whereas it's pretty hard to miss a roundabout entirely. If you don't notice traffic that you're supposed to yield to (or vice versa), you've probably at least reduced speed somewhat.

(Via AgBlog.)