Roundabout confusion prompts warning

A new roundabout at Paengaroa is causing driver confusion, resulting in four crashes at the site in the last two weeks.

A 63-year-old driver, travelling from Whakatane to Auckland, caused the fourth incident when he drove around the roundabout in the wrong direction and crashed into an oncoming car yesterday.

The new Paengaroa roundabout opened to traffic in May.

Acting Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Sergeant Mike Owen says four crashes in a fortnight is a worrying statistic.

He says the roundabout’s layout is similar to any other, and motorists need to take extra care while getting used to the change.

Traffic was diverted onto the new roundabout, replacing the old State Highway 2-SH33 T-intersection, in May this year.

The roundabout will be used by motorists travelling to Whakatane and the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and the Central Bay of Plenty, Te Puke and eventually Tauranga via the tolled section of the TEL when it opens in 2015. 

Mike says what might be tripping drivers up is the slightly new direction and layout, which means motorists travelling from Te Puke to Paengaroa must turn right, as opposed to straight ahead, at the roundabout.

“The arrows painted on the road are the same at every roundabout; I don’t know the problem really,” he says.

“The roundabout rules apply but they [motorists] just need to concentrate a bit more on where they actually want to head, and go around the roundabout and exit where they need to go.

“Because you are approaching these roads from different angles now, or where your intended destination is presented to you in a different angle, people need to get used to that.”

Mike says the Whakatane driver causing yesterday’s crash is likely to be charged with careless driving.

He was taken to Tauranga Hospital for observation and discharged late yesterday afternoon. Read more about the crash here.


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