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In San Benito County, California, a troublesome highway intersection was selected to be replaced with a “turbo roundabout.” A traffic routing feature in use since the 1990s, turbo roundabouts help drivers stay in the proper lane depending on where they want to end up when they exit the circular feature. However, since opening early this year, the SR 25/156 turbo roundabout seems to be causing even more fender benders.

This week, SFGate reported that at the new roundabout, a car accident is being reported an average of once every 2.5 days. Prior to its installation, a collision was reported about every eight days. 

Caltrans, which built the roundabout, says the bump in car accidents is due to a learning curve. The site released FAQs and a video in both English and Spanish explaining how the turbo roundabout works. The video is embedded below.

A long aerial shot of the turbo roundabout installed in February 2024 in San Benito County, California
Shae Hammond/ MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

These roundabouts contain raised lane barriers outlining each possible pathway. These barriers prevent cars from inadvertently crossing into other occupied lanes. However, they can feel quite confusing for drivers using them for the first time.

The feature is California’s first turbo roundabout. While the collision stats aren’t ideal, the Caltrans spokesperson said that the severity of each accident has decreased since its installation. They also said that drivers simply need more time to get used to it.