These days, road construction is virtually unavoidable, but that does not make encountering it any less annoying or dangerous. As long as communities continue to grow and the number of cars on their roadways grow alongside them, the need for new infrastructure to accommodate them will remain. However, an increased presence of road construction means enhanced crash risks for motorists.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, work zones are full of hazards that have the potential to affect a motorist’s driving ability. Furthermore, while all road deaths across the nation decreased by about 1.5% between 2016 and 2017, the number of deaths occurring in construction zones actually increased by 3% during that same period.
What is it about construction zones that make them so difficult for motorists to navigate? In some cases, drivers experience confusion simply because they see changes to their regular traffic patterns; they may have a hard time adjusting quickly to these changes. In other instances, narrowed or unclear rights-of-way also contribute to car wrecks, while unclear signage may do the same.
The speed factor
Sometimes, crashes occur in work zones because other drivers behave negligently and cannot stop in time or otherwise safely make their way through road construction. Safely navigating construction zones may prove difficult under any circumstance, but if drivers are also speeding when trying to do so, it may prove even more problematic. In fact, speeding was a factor in 203 work zone road deaths in 2017 and 194 work zone road deaths the year prior.
While avoiding the nation’s construction zones is probably not realistic, there are a few things you may do to reduce your chances of becoming a statistic. Make sure to always slow down when approaching road construction. It may also serve you well to tap your brakes several times when doing so to help alert other motorists about what lies ahead.