Highway work zones represent a very real risk to workers as well as drivers. Data suggests that there are an average of 12 fatal work zone accidents each week in the U.S. Some of these fatalities affect construction workers, but a large percentage of fatalities affects drivers and pedestrians.
Driving with care and remaining aware of your surroundings can make work zones safer for workers and drivers. Here’s what you should know about staying safe when driving through highway work areas.
Rear-End Crashes Are Very Common in Work Zones
Drivers must be aware of the additional risks of driving through a work zone. One of the greatest risks is rear-end collisions. As traffic in work zones slows down, rear-end collisions become much more common. According to data from 2013, 41% of fatal work zone accidents in that year involved a rear-end collision. Nationwide, just 16% of deadly car accidents are rear-end collisions.
There are many reasons rear-end accidents are so common in work zones. Drivers in work zones may follow too closely when traffic gets backed up and leaves drivers with little room. Some drivers also become frustrated by slow speeds in the work zone and drive more aggressively as a result. When parts of the road are closed for construction, drivers have less room to escape a crash. Sometimes rear-end crashes are the result of distracted drivers who may be watching the construction, checking a GPS device, or simply changing the radio station.
Rear-end collisions are among the easiest car accidents to prevent. Simply slow down through the work zone and leave a safe distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you.
Driver Safety Tips in Work Zones
These safe driving tips may save someone’s life. When you see a highway work zone approaching, remember to:
- Merge into the correct lane. Watch for lane closure warnings or signs that indicate changes in traffic patterns. Be careful as lane markings may be hard to recognize during construction.
- Pay attention to other drivers. Watch brake lights on vehicles in front of you and watch traffic around you. Be prepared to react if another driver is not paying attention.
- Do not tailgate. While it may be frustrating when traffic slows down for construction, be sure not to tailgate other drivers.
- Obey the speed limit. The lower speed limit through construction is meant to help protect the lives of workers who may be just feet away from traffic. Remember that fines can be doubled for moving violations in a work zone.
- Keep your headlights on. This makes it easier for other drivers and road workers to see you.
- Watch for work vehicles or equipment entering or exiting the highway. Other vehicles may also stop, slow down, or change lanes unexpectedly.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Help
If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in a highway work zone accident, it’s important to take action right away to protect your legal rights and begin building your case. An experienced attorney, like a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts, can help you understand your legal options and may negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation with a car accident injury attorney to review your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead for their insight into accident awareness and personal injury practice.