County Crash Report: Wrecks Spike Near One New Roundabout

Jan 9, 2019

The roundabout at Tapawingo Drive and River Road saw 73 nearby crashes in 2017.
Credit Taylor Haggerty / WBAA

Tippecanoe County drivers may be struggling to adapt to new roundabouts, with a spike in crashes at one of them in 2017. That’s according to the latest county Vehicle Crash Report.

The report highlights trends in traffic incidents, identifying the most common kinds of crashes and the most frequent crash sites. The intersection of Creasy Lane and South Street again takes first place, registering 81 nearby crashes in 2017, the year for which data was just released.

But a new roundabout at Tapawingo Drive and River Road in West Lafayette ranks second, with a total of 73 crashes.

Tim Stroshine is a transportation planner with the county’s Area Plan Commission who helped prepare the crash report. He says the spike in accidents could be, in part, because students and visitors from out of town aren’t familiar with traffic patterns, and…

“That it’s also fairly busy, especially during rush hour times with people commuting to and from campus, whether it be for their jobs or classes, or whatever,” Stroshine says.

The county’s website says roundabouts are usually considered for intersections that are frequent crash sites, because they’re supposed to be less risky. But the number of crashes has increased dramatically at Tapawingo Drive and River Road, which saw just 17 accidents from 2013 to 2015.

But Stroshine believes the number will drop back down again after drivers get used to navigating the new roundabout.

“Crashes are likely to decrease there,” Stroshine says. “That’s kind of a general pattern you see with roundabouts, and that’s held true in our community.”

More than four of every five crashes in 2017 were rear-end collisions, according to the report. And more wrecks occurred on Fridays than any other day of the week.