Navigating your way through road construction is often a major pain, but for many people, construction zones are more than just a nuisance. Research shows that fatal work zone car wrecks are on the rise across the nation, and this is especially concerning given that road fatalities, in general, are on the decline.
Per the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, fatal work zone car wrecks rose 3% between 2017 and 2018, while fatal car wrecks occurring outside of these areas declined by 1.5%. These figures raise important questions about the dangers of driving through work zones and suggest that more needs to happen to ensure the safety of everyone traveling the nation’s roads.
Just what is it about road construction that makes it so hazardous for drivers? Construction zones present numerous threats for those traveling through them, and some of the dangers come from unfamiliar traffic patterns. When motorists expect to travel in a particular pattern, they may find it difficult to move in a new direction, which may lead to crashes. Debris, signage and vehicles related to the construction itself also have the potential to lead to wrecks and motorists who fail to exercise care in work zones further compound crash risks.
The speed factor
While drivers who speed endanger everyone on the road, drivers who speed through construction zones create even more of a hazard. Statistics reveal that speed was a factor in 194 of the work zone road fatalities seen in 2016 and in 203 of the construction zone fatalities seen in the United States in 2017.
You may be able to enhance safety in construction zones to some degree simply by staying vigilant and exercising extreme caution. However, drivers who are negligent in construction zones present a threat to you, regardless of how careful you are when traveling through them.