Bumpy driving, stalled traffic, and increased penalties make construction zones a hassle for drivers. On average, more than 700 deaths occur in construction zones every year. This is because vehicles, especially buses and trucks, have limited maneuverability and big blind spots, which make driving in these areas more difficult and dangerous.
The good news is that attention, preparation, and obedience to signs and signals can help you drive safely. Stay safe with the following tips when traveling through construction zones.
Research the Route Beforehand and Plan Accordingly
Before you hit the road, use every tool at your disposal – GPS, apps with traffic information, mapping and routing software, radio traffic advisories, etc. -to find construction zones. When possible, avoid major construction areas with route changes or plan your trip during off-peak hours.
Pay Attention and Be Prepared
Always keep your eyes on the road, especially in work zones. Look for the orange diamond signs, several of which will be placed alongside the roadway well before the actual construction to warn drivers. Slow down when you see the sign and pay extra attention to any obstacles, machinery, or workers ahead. Construction equipment can unexpectedly move into travel lanes, as can workers who forget their positions. Even if you don’t see anyone, always assume they are present.
Before driving through a construction zone, prepare yourself emotionally and physically. Get enough rest prior, and prepare yourself to be patient. Road rage and construction zones are a common yet dangerous combination, so be ready.
Know your Local Safe Speed Limit
According to federal guidelines, the average speed in a construction zone is between 45 mph and 55 mph. This gives workers and drivers enough time to react to dangerous situations. Off the highway, many work zones require a speed limit of 20 miles per hour or less. Since these zones can be quite congested with traffic, attentiveness is key. Make sure to check your local laws of the state so that you can properly comply with the requirements.
Beware of Choke Points
Merging is one of the most serious hazards in construction zones. Traffic usually passes from several lanes to one or two lanes, thus creating a ‘choke point.’ Being stuck in a choke point can be quite frustrating and ultimately dangerous as drivers continue to pass, create traffic jams, and increase the risk of accidents. Anticipate this behavior, and be sure to remain calm and courteous.
Maintain a Safe Distance
Rear-end crashes are quite common in construction zones. When other drivers pass and pull in front of you, make sure to re-establish a safe distance by backing off. Also, never cut off a bus or truck, as that could be risky.
Seek the Services of a Personal Injury Law Firm
If you have been involved in a construction zone accident, it is best to seek the help of a personal injury law firm to get the compensation you deserve. These professionals will handle all the legal complications for you while focusing on receiving your treatment and overcoming the emotional trauma from the accident.