Sometimes it seems that everywhere you go you encounter a road that is under construction. These areas normally have big signs, road barrels, and lanes shut down. This often leads to additional road congestion and a change in road patterns. Road construction or work zones, can put you at risk of having an accident. Understanding this risk, as well as how to avoid it, may help you remain safe the next time you enter a work zone.
The Risks Work Zones Pose
Work zones can be very dangerous places. Based on 2010 statistics, someone was injured in a work zone approximately every 14 minutes throughout the day. This resulted in approximately 104 people being injured each and every day, or 37,476 injuries for that particular year.
These injuries were a result of 87,606 reported crashes that took place in work zone areas. While it may be an easy assumption that the majority of these accidents and injuries took place at night, this is not the case. About 70% of these took place 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The most common types of accidents in work zones included:
- Sideswipe Collisions
- Fix-Objects Collisions
- Rear End Collisions
- Warning Equipment Collisions
- Construction Equipment Collisions
Causes of Construction Zone Accidents
These accidents could be caused by a wide variety of things that could be directly contributed to the companies performing the work. Some of the most common are:
- Distracting signage
- Poorly marked lanes
- Misplaced barrels
- Poor lighting
- Road debris
- Uneven pavement
- Sudden lane shifts
- Road machinery
In addition to these items there are other conditions that may be caused by other drivers who may be distracted by the activity going on around them. Some of these are:
- Sudden braking
- Sudden swerving
- Failing to yield to construction equipment or warning lights and more
How To Avoid A Work Zone Accident
Always be attentive - In a work zone you have to not only look out for yourself, you have to look out for other drivers, construction workers, construction equipment, sudden changes and more.
Allow more distance between you and the driver in front of you - Many times you may not be able to see the changes that the driver in front of you is having to deal with. By placing more distance between you and that driver will give you more time to react to the unexpected.
Obey the posted speed - Most states have laws in place that allow them to increase the fines or penalties for speeding in a work zone. These fines are often double what they would be anywhere else, and may even increase more if you have repeated offenses. Not only does slowing down help you avoid these penalties and fines, slowing down also allows you to have more control over your actions, as well as your reactions.
Avoid any and all distractions - These include visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Always keep your eyes on the road, do not make adjustments to your radio, seat, or mirrors, and keep a cool head. Do not use your phone, put on your make up, or get drawn into an argument with your passengers. Remember their safety depends on your driving.
What Do You Need To Do In The Case Of An Accident?
If you have an accident in a construction zone due to someone else's fault you probably have a valid case to claim for damages. Trying to figure out if your claim will be against another driver or against the construction company performing the work can be difficult at best. You will need the services of a car accident attorney.
Determining who is at fault will often require a full investigation by someone trained in the area of work zone accident investigation. An attorney, like those from Master Weinstein Shatz Moyer, P.C., will be able to get this investigation done. If they do not have someone on staff to perform it, they will know who to hire.