As the weather starts to get warm, construction has been popping up all over the Indianapolis area. You may have already encountered the road closures and construction zones caused by work on the IndyGo bus system or the Monon Trail. There’s no chance of these navigational headaches letting up anytime soon either with the Indiana Department of Transportation planning to shut down I-465 eastbound direction at the beginning of June. Indeed, at this point, many Hoosiers have come to expect some amount of construction during our commutes.
Accordingly, it’s important to remember that these work areas can be dangerous for motorists as well as workers. Being behind the wheel will not necessarily protect you from injury or even death in the case of a work zone accident. Over 800 people were killed in work zones in 2020 alone, and only 14% of these fatalities were construction workers. The rest were drivers and their passengers. As more and more construction projects appear across the state, now is a fantastic time to familiarize yourself with the dangers of driving in a construction zone and strategies on how to stay safe.
What Makes Construction Zones So Dangerous?
Construction zones are hotbeds for motor vehicle accidents, and driving in one significantly increases your chances of being in an accident, even if nothing out-of-the-ordinary is happening while you drive through the zone. Over 40,000 work zone crashes occur every year nationally; that’s more than one hundred work zone crashes per day. On average, three people lose their lives every day in work zone crashes, and most fatalities occur during the summer months. But what is it that makes construction zones so deadly? Here, we’ve outlined the three most common causes of the thousands of work zone crashes that Hoosiers experience every year.
- Tailgating. You can improve your chances of traversing a work zone safely by giving plenty of room to the cars around you, as the stopping and starting of traffic in a work zone can easily lead to rear-end collisions if cars are traveling bumper-to-bumper.
- Speeding. Driving faster than the posted speed limits in a construction zone is extremely dangerous and is the leading cause of accidents in work zones both in Indiana and nationwide.
- Inattentive driving. When in a work zone, it’s important to be aware of the temporary traffic signs and rules posted to keep drivers safe. When motorists ignore these rules, the risk of a crash goes up, especially if they ignore them because they are driving distracted.
All of these driving mistakes and dangers can result in a collision with another vehicle. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of construction zone accident.
How To Stay Safe in a Work Zone
Construction zone accidents are particularly difficult to prevent because, more often than not, they are completely out of a driver’s control. However, because conditions in work zones can be so unpredictable and dangerous, it’s important that motorists driving near construction zones do everything in their power to minimize risk and stay safe on the road.
Patience and attentiveness are key to operating a vehicle within a construction zone. You can make your commute safer for everyone on the road by watching closely for any speed limit reduction signs, narrowing of lanes, and any hazards on the road. Try to anticipate these obstacles and drive defensively with regard to them. Additionally, although it can be frustrating, expecting delays in travel and slow-moving traffic can also help to prevent accidents, as aggressive driving and road rage become particularly dangerous in the close quarters of a construction zone. Be prepared to leave early if you think you might encounter construction and stay calm if that construction slows you down on the road.
Ms. Natalie Garrett, the communications director with Indiana’s Department of Transportation, has some fairly simple advice when it comes to keeping yourself safe in a construction zone. Garrett emphasizes the importance of keeping your eyes on the road and staying alert to ensure that you can always adjust to unexpected troubles. “…being aware of changing conditions in work zones is a big point. Just because you drove through a work zone yesterday doesn’t mean it will be the same today,” she advises.
Indiana Traffic Resources
In addition to using safe driving practices, you can also help to prevent a deadly accident by staying prepared and informed about Indiana construction projects before you actually get behind the wheel. The Indiana Department of Transportation provides a traffic map that updates in real time and can show you potential hazards along your path, including construction zones. These maps will also allow you to circumnavigate work zones altogether and find a safer path to your destination that doesn’t run into any construction at all.
Remember, just because you’ve driven through an area before doesn’t mean that the area won’t have any new, unexpected conditions. You will always be safer if you make sure construction doesn’t take you by surprise.
Injured in an Indiana Work Zone Accident? Call Stewart & Stewart AttorneysDid you or your loved one suffer a construction zone accident in Indiana? The team at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys is here to fight for your rights and work hard to bring your construction zone crash case to a fair resolution. Don’t wait; call 1-866-925-3011 24/7/365 or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced vehicle accident attorney. You only pay when we win.