Mayor of ‘Roundabout Capitol of the South’ goes round and round with national news crew on the issue in her Mississippi town

Published 2:14 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

National reporters went round and round on the issues of roundabouts in what one Mississippi mayor proudly calls the “Roundabout Capitol of the South.”

Oxford mayor Robyn Tannehill posted on social media Friday afternoon that she just completed a tour of her town with a crew from NBC Nightly News.

“Such a fun day with NBC Nightly News’ Marissa Parra and Jacob Cavaiani,” Tennehill posted on Facebook. “They are doing a story on — wait for it — ROUNDABOUTS! 🥰

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In recent years the City of Oxford has been following other communities across the nation that are installing roundabouts in place of traditional intersections. According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation website, roundabouts reduce the likelihood and severity of intersection-related collisions.

According to MDOT, roundabouts promote a continuous, one-way flow of traffic and have fewer points of conflict than a traditional intersection.

Studies by the FHWA and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have shown that roundabouts typically achieve:

  •  A 37 percent reduction in overall collisions
  •  A 75 percent reduction in injury collisions
  •  A 90 percent reduction in fatal collisions
  •  A 40 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions
  •  75 percent fewer conflict points than a traditional intersection

Not everyone is happy about the new traffic device, including several commentators on Tannehill’s post who let their feelings be known about roundabouts.

“Can NBC Nightly News get rid of the roundabouts? They are horrible,” one Facebook user wrote. “Maybe they filmed a tractor-trailer trying to go through one and see how difficult and dangerous roundabouts really are.”

Another Facebook reader wrote, “I know a lady who calls them “ride-arounds!” 😂

One reader agreed with Tannehill’s designation of Oxford as being the Roundabout Capitol of the South.

“Well they came to the right place we have roundabouts here that’s for sure,” the commenter posted.

Tannehill said on her post that the upcoming story is scheduled to run on Saturday evening, but a government shutdown could create schedule changes.

MDOT officials recommend drivers keep in mind the following reminders when using round about:

  • Yield to drivers in the roundabout
  • Stay in your lane; do not change lanes
  • Do not stop in the roundabout
  • Avoid driving next to oversize vehicles

MDOT officials that roundabouts are designed to accommodate vehicles of all sizes, including emergency vehicles, buses, farm equipment and semi-trucks with trailers. Oversize vehicles and vehicles with trailers may straddle both lanes while driving through a roundabout.

Many roundabouts are also designed with a truck apron, a raised section of pavement around the central island that acts as an extra lane for large vehicles. The back wheels of the oversize vehicle can ride up on the truck apron so the truck can easily complete the turn, while the raised portion of concrete discourages use by smaller vehicles.

Because large vehicles may need extra room to complete their turn in a roundabout, drivers should remember never to drive next to large vehicles in a roundabout.