Work Zone Traffic Accidents: 7 Tips to Help You Stay Safe

The whole point of highway construction is to keep roads well-maintained, in the interest of safety. However, the very road work that's designed to keep motorists safe can often be a magnet for car accidents that can result in serious injury—even death. Don't let an ignorance of work zone hazards put you and your family at risk. Learn more about the dangers that motorists face when traveling through work zones, as well as how to stay safe and what you can do if you—or someone you love—were injured in a traffic accident that occurred in a construction zone.

Work Zone Accident Statistics

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHA) Work Zone Management Program, there were a total of 5,419,345 roadway accidents in 2010 and, of those accidents, 87,606 occurred in construction work zones. While the majority of work zone traffic crashes don't end in tragedy, deaths can and do occur. In 2010, 576 people died in work zone car accidents on U.S. highways. Additionally, as many as 37,476 people sustained injuries.

Consider these other important work zone accident statistics:

  • The majority of work zone traffic accidents (72.2%) cause property damage, but no injuries or fatalities.
  • Most of the roadway construction site fatalities (70%) that do occur happen in the morning and afternoon—between 8:00 a.m. and 4:59 p.m.
  • Rear-end crashes, sideswipes, and fixed-object collisions are the most common types of accidents to happen in work zones.
  • When work zone fatalities do occur, the driver is most frequently the victim.
  • Fatal work zone crashes usually happen on roads where the speed limit is greater than 50 miles per hour.
  • Most work zone accident fatalities involve working-age adults.
  • Fatal work zone accidents occur most frequently in the summer and fall seasons.

There are a number of conditions that can contribute to accidents in construction zones, including:

  • Insufficient signage.
  • The presence of heavy machinery.
  • Construction debris in the roadway.
  • Uneven road surfaces.

Work Zone Safety Tips

While roadway obstructions, such as heavy machinery and loose gravel, can contribute to work zone traffic accidents, sometimes bad driving habits are to blame. Use these simple tips to keep you and your passengers safe when traveling through areas that are undergoing construction:

  1. Focus your attention on the roadway, taking extra care to avoid distractions, such as using your cell phone, eating or drinking, changing the music, or disciplining children.
  2. Watch for—and follow—the posted speed limit.
  3. Obey all other work zone signage.
  4. Drive defensively – Watch what the vehicles around you are doing, such as braking, and be prepared to react appropriately.
  5. Follow vehicles at a safe distance, leaving at least two to three car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  6. Keep an eye out for construction workers, work vehicles, or other equipment.
  7. Merge and change lanes safely.

Were You Injured in an Accident? Our Car Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help

If you were injured in a traffic accident that occurred in a work zone, it can sometimes be difficult to determine who was at fault. Was it another motorist's bad driving behavior? Construction equipment or debris in the roadway? A personal injury attorney with experience handling work zone traffic accidents can help you make sense of the situation and determine whether you are able to seek compensation for medical bills related to the accident, damage to your vehicle, lost wages if your injuries cause you to miss work, and pain and suffering. Contact the skilled personal injury attorneys with the Packard Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation or to request a free copy of the book 20 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Car Wreck Case. Our attorneys are ready and waiting to discuss your case—and eager to help you pursue any compensation to which you may be legally entitled.