Although Spring arrived via the calendar a month ago, this week’s temperatures and Easter celebration seem to have made it official. Along with white shoes, short pants and daylight savings time comes the warm weather bane of many a traveler: road construction. Traveling safely through work zones presents unique challenges compared to driving under normal circumstances: confined maneuvering spaces, decreased visibility, lane shifts, sudden stops and most importantly, the dangerous mix of workers and vehicles at highways speeds just a few feet apart from one another. The added distractions of heavy equipment, cell phones, gps devices and impatient passengers make for a potentially toxic stew requiring careful navigation.
We’ve all seen the numerous warning signs as you enter a construction zone, the barriers in place to direct traffic, and of course the signs that admonish drivers to obey reduced speed limits or suffer steep fines. All of those warnings—and financial disincentives—are in place for good reason. In 2009 alone, 667 individuals were killed and 30,000 were injured in construction zone crashes. In light of these statistics and the particular risks that construction zones present for drivers and workers the Federal Highway Administration and many states joined earlier this month to recognize National Work Zone Awareness Week. The goal of National Work Zone Awareness Week is alerting drivers about the importance of safe driving in work zones. How individuals drive in work zones directly impacts the safety of motorists and workers and a bit of increased vigilence can make a world of difference.
As you and your loved ones are out on the road, whether it’s part of your daily routine or a vacation, be aware of construction work and pay particular attention to warning signs and their instructions. Follow some basic driving tips such as staying alert, keeping your headlights on, obeying speed limits, maintaining a safe distance from the car in front of you, and expecting the unexpected. Everyone has a role to play in preventing accidents, injuries and fatalities on our roadways. As the commercials say, don’t be a statistic.
If you need advice following a crash, contact a qualified accident and injury attorney for a free consultation.