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Road work zones are prone to traffic incidents. In work zone incidents recorded over the previous five years, 200,000 people were injured and another 4,400 died. Of those that died, 85 percent were inside the vehicle or vehicles involved in the incident, and the remaining 15 percent were workers on the scene.
Most work zone fatalities are drivers, so the safety issue doesn’t just involve the workers who might feel exposed to unsafe conditions while working next to a busy road or highway. Fatalities in work zones are typically adults of working age, and the most common type of incident in work zones is a rear-end crash. These are usually caused by the stop-and-go nature of traffic around work zones, especially if lanes are closed and traffic is particularly congested.
Most fatal crashes that happen in road work zones occur in either fall or summer since those months tend to correlate with the schedule of outdoor road work. Roads and highways where the speed limit is more than 50 mph saw the majority of all fatal crashes in road work zones. This is due to the stopping distance required for vehicles at that speed. If the road is dry it takes 300 feet for a vehicle traveling at 50 mph to stop. Wet pavement adds another 100 feet to that and icy pavement can require up to 1,250 feet of distance to come to a complete stop.
Those figures are just for standard vehicles. Tractor-trailers that are completely loaded need about 50 percent more distance to completely stop. Most drivers assume that the added speed will make a huge difference when making a long trip, so they speed in order to reach their destination faster. In all actuality, the difference in the time it takes to cover a single mile is only 25 seconds greater at 45 mph than 65 mph.
One of the best ways to minimize the possibility of accidents in road work zones is to reduce distractions so that you can pay attention to the road as much as possible. Distracted driving is a huge problem and can include texting, eating, changing music, and talking. If you are approaching or passing through a work zone, be aware of break lights and lanes merging. Be patient and don’t let frustration take over. Learn to flow with the traffic as part of it and not a separate entity. Most importantly, pay attention to the workers directing traffic with flags.
Reckless drivers in construction zones pose a great danger to both workers and fellow commuters. If you are involved in a car accident, Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyers can get you in contact with a qualified car accident attorney in your area. They can analyze the facts of the case help you seek compensation for any injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.