There are only two real seasons: winter and construction. When it’s finally pleasant enough out on the road to head out on a long drive and not worry about snow and ice, you’ve suddenly got orange cones, detours, and heavy machinery to worry about. Construction zones on roadways come in all shapes and sizes, and in small towns or major highway junctions. Some last years, and others are over in a matter of weeks. What they all have in common, however, is the fact that lots of drivers don’t realize how dangerous they really are.
Here are some key facts about road construction zones that you should consider, before you speed through another work zone, or lose your cool with a roadside flagger.
Road construction zones are some of the most common areas for accidents. The Federal Highway Administration notes, “from 1982 through 2017, 27,037 individuals (about 773 per year) lost their lives in work zone crashes.” The FHWA also noted the sad statistic that in 2015, there was a highway worksite accident in the U.S. every 5.4 minutes. These accidents may come from drivers neglecting to slow down while traveling through work sites, or distracted drivers striking machinery, workers, or even temporary barriers on the shoulders.
Workers are likely to be killed
In construction zones, a roadside worker is likely to be severely injured or even killed in a collision with a fast-moving vehicle. According to data from Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “from 2003-2017, 1,844 workers lost their lives at road construction sites. The number of fatal work-related injuries at road construction sites averaged 123 per year.” With heavy machinery, lots of noise, heads-down workers, and fast-moving vehicles driving past just a few feet away from it all, road construction areas are extremely dangerous areas for workers. There are lots of hazards you may not think about that could lead to a sudden accident. Slowing down to the required construction zone speed limits can help everyone feel safer.
Distracted driving is more of a problem
Taking a phone call while navigating shifting lanes, narrow roads, and rapidly slowing traffic can mean little to no reaction time when you need it. Slow down and get rid of potential distractions in work zones. Don’t text, don’t change the radio station and don’t reach for something in the back seat while driving in tricky construction zones. This simple pause can help you, and the vehicles and workers around you, stay safe.
Tailgating gets worse
In construction zones, you might encounter uneven road surfaces, bumps, sharp curves and even sudden stops. If you’re following too close to the vehicle in front of you, it may be nearly impossible to avoid a collision. Ease off your speed and avoid an accident.
Avoid getting irate at construction delays or roadside workers. Flaggers who are keeping you from your ultimate destination down the road are keeping everyone safe. Road rage doesn’t belong here, or anywhere on the highway. Keep it cool, and everyone will get home safely.