Construction zones on the roads are inevitable. Whether the construction zone is right outside your front door, on a stretch of freeway along your commute or even both, construction can seem like an inescapable part of driving.
Driving in construction zones does not come without danger. While serious car accidents can take place anywhere, construction zones pose additional dangers that drivers need to anticipate.
How common are crashes in work zone areas?
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were an estimated 96,626 work zone crashes across the country in 2015. Over 26 percent of all work zone crashes resulted in at least one injury and 0.7 percent resulted in at least one fatality. In California, there were 6,525 work zone crashes on highways across the state in 2014.
What you can do to contribute to safe roads and fewer crashes
Drivers and passengers are at the greatest risk of injury or even death when a car accident occurs within a work zone. To contribute to the continued safety of both yourself and others, here are a few tips to stay safe:
- Be vigilant. Work zones can be unpredictable. You may need to slow down or stop unexpectedly. Be aware of your surroundings and of workers on the road. Avoid any sort of distracted driving, including texting or talking on the phone.
- Abide by the stated speed limit. Even if you regularly take a certain highway, abide by the adjusted speed limit when it is under construction. Lowered speed limits are posted for a reason and give you extra time to slow down if necessary.
- Keep more space between your car and others. Rear-end crashes are common in work zones. Keep extra space between you and the car in front of you and pay attention to upcoming hazards that could slow down traffic.
- Drive defensively. Defensive driving saves lives. Merge carefully and pay attention to the vehicles around you. Be aware of upcoming construction site markers, including cones, barriers and adjusted lane lines.
Plan ahead for work zone delays
Car accidents can cause severe injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other serious injuries to your spinal cord, head and back. While driving in a work zone can be frustrating, be patient and anticipate delays. By leaving earlier and driving defensively, you can contribute to keeping yourself and all those around you safe.