Encountering road construction can lead to long delays and feelings of frustration, but it can also lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Your chances of getting into a fatal car crash may be higher in work zones than in other areas of the roadway. Even if you are lucky enough to live through a serious construction-related car crash, you may suffer severe, life-changing injuries after involvement in one.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, fatal car crashes in construction zones are on the rise across the nation, even though fatal car crashes that take place outside of these work zones are, in fact, declining. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of fatal car wrecks taking place in road construction zones rose 3%, while the number of fatal car wrecks taking place outside construction zones decreased by 1%.
Just what is it about road construction that makes construction areas particularly hazardous for motorists? Unfortunately, there are numerous aspects of navigating through road construction that can lead to accidents. While some of the dangers come from the construction, itself, others result from other motorists driving dangerously or negligently in these areas.
Often, work zone car wrecks occur because drivers have a hard time navigating unfamiliar or recently changed traffic patterns. This can prove especially likely when detours, signage and the like are unclear. In other instances, car crashes in construction zones occur because signs, machinery or equipment make it difficult for motorists to see or recognize where need to travel.
While construction zones pose a threat to even the most careful and conscientious drivers, they can prove even more dangerous when drivers making their way through them are already breaking the rules of the road. For example, while speeding can enhance the chances of a car crash anywhere, speeding in work zones is even more dangerous, because drivers who do so may have a harder time making sudden stops, adjusting to traffic pattern changes and so on. To put this in perspective, speed was a factor in 203 fatal work zone crashes that took place in the United States in 2017.
Even if you exercise extreme care when driving through road construction, it is important that you also exercise extreme vigilance, because other motorists may not do the same.