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Driving safely on roads with alternative features

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

On modern roadways, drivers encounter a variety of alternative features designed to enhance efficiency and safety. Navigating these unconventional designs demands caution and adherence to specific rules.

It pays to learn about these unique configurations before hitting unfamiliar roads.


Roundabouts enhance safety by promoting a continuous traffic flow. To navigate them comfortably, remember to yield to vehicles already in the roundabout and enter only when there is a safe gap. Keep a moderate speed, watch for pedestrians and follow merging and exiting guidance indicated on signage.

Diverging diamonds

Diverging diamond interchanges are becoming more prevalent, offering increased traffic efficiency. When driving through a diverging diamond, follow road signs and lane markings carefully. Pay attention to the temporary shift in traffic to the left side of the road, allowing unimpeded left turns onto freeway ramps.

Double roundabouts

A recent addition to Virginia’s roadways is the double roundabout, in which all freeway ramps begin and end at a traffic circle. While they employ the same merging principles of standard roundabouts, these circles require additional attention from freeway drivers not familiar with exiting into such a configuration. Of particular importance is the need to watch for pedestrian traffic near the end of the offramp to ensure the safety of walkers and cyclists.

Other traffic calming measures

So-called “traffic calming measures” like speed humps, raised crosswalks and chicanes aim to create safer environments for all road users. When encountering speed humps, reduce your speed appropriately to ensure a smooth ride. Approach raised crosswalks with caution, providing extra care to pedestrians. Chicanes, which often take the form of offset curb extensions, slow down traffic. They require drivers to proceed with caution to navigate carefully through curves.

By understanding and adapting to these alternative road designs, drivers contribute to the overall effectiveness and safety of our evolving transportation infrastructure.