Encountering a construction zone during your highway travels is a common occurrence for most drivers in the US.
However, navigating past the seas of orange cones, reflective tape, heavy equipment, sudden lane changes, and around the unexpected construction site can not only delay your ETA (estimated time of arrival), cause traffic, ignite road rage in some drivers, but also be life-threatening and potentially lethal.
Roads that endure heavy traffic require a lot of maintenance including widening, repairs, and repaving. As a result, US roads are often clogged with road work, creating confusion and frustration.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that from 1982 to 2019, 28,636 people (nearly 800 per year) lost their lives in construction zone collisions.
Fatal accidents involving road construction
Between 2015-2019, The US lost an average of 782 lives due to accidents in maintenance and construction zones.
Most fatalities in construction zones involve drivers or passengers in non-construction vehicles.
What Causes Accidents that Occur in Construction Zones?
For drivers who do not notice the change or do not adapt accordingly, a reduction in lanes may result in collisions. Lane narrowings can also cause vehicles to scrape against one another (sideswipes) when drivers ignore external factors.
There are many causalities behind accidents in construction zones, including distracted drivers, speeding, not paying attention to signage, tailgating, or aggressive drivers.
Aside from other drivers and driving circumstances, many other elements in roadway construction sites can lead to collisions. Aside from other drivers and compelling driving circumstances, many other aspects in roadway construction sites can lead to crashes.
Construction zones may be missing cones or barriers, have inaccurate signs, misleading or missing signs, road signs blocked by shrubs, and other obstacles. Additionally, an absence of a speed warning sign, insufficient lighting, neglectfully placed or misplaced construction machinery and equipment can lead to major car collisions in a roadway construction zone.
Construction Zone Driving: How to Be Safe
- Stay alert and minimize what distractions you can
- Always make dedicating your full attention to the roadway a priority. Avoid superficial distractions such as changing the radio station, using a mobile phone, eating snacks, and anything else that may divert your attention from the road.
- When merging into lanes, do it safely and correctly, avoiding sudden unplanned movements. Switching lanes well before you reach a lane closure (or even an intended exit during regular driving) can save your life and the lives of others. When traveling through construction zones, traffic patterns can change from week to week and sometimes even daily.
- Be patient, don’t let your emotions get the best of you (stress or anger). It helps to keep in mind that construction sites will result in future improvements to your commute once completed.
- Be on the lookout for flaggers hired to give instructions and indicate which lanes to use or how to go around a moving piece of machinery in a construction or work zone.
- Educate yourself on commonly used signage and construction zone safety.
If you’ve been in a construction zone accident
Follow the usual steps following an accident like calling the police, putting on your hazard lights, and moving yourself and your vehicle to safety in the vicinity of the accident whenever possible; this is particularly important in construction site accidents on busy, congested roadways.
Additionally, always seek medical attention after a collision, regardless of how you feel in the moment. Some injuries from accidents can take days to surface, so it’s essential to start the process as soon as possible and get thoroughly checked out by a medical provider.
Construction Zone Car Accident Attorneys
Aside from taking these fundamental but critical measures, reaching out to a lawyer for help can be crucial in recovering damages and getting full and just compensation following a car accident.
It may be wise to hire an experienced attorney specialized in representing car accident victims injured by hazardous road conditions. An accident in a work zone may entitle you to compensation if you suffer an injury. Construction companies, government entities responsible for the project, and other drivers may all be liable for damages caused by negligence.
After an accident, it’s best not to procrastinate, whether it’s filing a police report, contacting your insurance company, or getting in touch with a knowledgeable attorney. The law office of Daniel H. Rose offers a free consultation where you seek guidance in determining what actions may be best to take next and which legal options are available to you.