The national statistics on accidents in road construction zones are sobering. According to the data, by the time you finish reading this post, a road construction accident will have taken place. Every 5.4, minutes there is such a crash. 70 of those accidents will result in at least one injury, and one or more fatalities occur every week; nationally, over 650 people die each year in work zone accidents, and the number continues to rise.
Motorists can make a huge difference in lowering the road construction accident rate by taking a few precautions when driving in work zones. Lives will be saved in the process. Here are a few easy things you can start doing now to avoid a road construction accident.
- Obey traffic laws – Even though this should be a no-brainer, following the directions on those orange construction signs will save lives. When the area calls for a slow down to 45 MPH, that’s the speed limit, and it’s posted as such for good reason.
- No distractions while driving – This is particularly important in construction zones. Many motorists feel that since they aren’t texting, it’s okay to check the message that just came in or a quick glance at the latest email won’t hurt anything. What they don’t realize is that it only takes a microsecond to hit a barrier, a car or a person when you take your eyes off the road. Even reading a billboard while in a work zone can have a disastrous outcome if your vehicle happens to drift while you’re distracted.
- Stay alert when workers are present – Road construction workers are focused on the job in front of them. Even though they have to be aware of the traffic around them, they still have a job to do. Granted, a worker may take a step too far and create a hazard by getting in the line of traffic, however, it is still up to the motorist to be alert enough to anticipate that possibility, especially when the work requires the worker be in close proximity to traffic.
- Practice proper merging – You’ll have plenty of time to merge out of a closed lane, and if you are in the lane vehicles are merging into, remember to let people in. When all drivers are cooperating in merging, it goes smoother and safer.
- Leave plenty of distance between you and the car in front of you – Work zones are unpredictable spaces. You can never tell when the car in front of you will need to stop suddenly. Following at a safe distance will give you time to stop if need be.
- Expect the unexpected – The flow of traffic is constantly changing in road construction areas. Drivers who are not anticipating changes in well-traveled work zones are ripe candidates for a road construction accident. Workers, their vehicles, or equipment, could enter your lane unexpectedly. Vehicles ahead of you may suddenly change lanes, slow down or stop. You need to be prepared to react.
A road construction accident is an avoidable event when proper driving precautions are being taken. The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., are specialists in personal injury law. If you or a loved one needs legal services in a personal injury case, contact us for a free initial consultation. We proudly serve the southwestern Florida area with offices in Englewood, North Port, and Port Charlotte.