You know how the old joke goes? Minnesota has two seasons: winter and road construction. While we tend to laugh at this joke, we quickly become serious when it comes time for us to sit in traffic, frustrated at the inconvenience. Most of the time, construction just presents an obstacle to our day. The orange cones have come to represent tardiness, stress, and complication. Usually we get over these disruptions when traffic thins out. However, when we aren’t careful, road construction can present drivers and road workers with lasting problems.
According to The US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, there were 87,606 crashes in work zones in 2010. Less than 1% of these crashes were fatal, while 30% were injury crashes, and 69% were property damage only crashes. Construction can be dangerous to both workers are drivers, but there are some steps drivers can take to prevent accidents in work zones.
Stay focused and eliminate distractions. When driving in a construction zone, anything can happen. Drivers need to stay alert so they can be aware of workers, signs, or speed limit changes. In order to maximize awareness, drivers should put down their phones. Refrain from making calls, texting, doing makeup, or eating during this time.
Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Rear end crashes are the most common type of collision in construction zones. In order to reduce your chance of being in one of these crashes, drivers should not tailgate and must maintain a safe following distance from cars ahead. This will allow drivers to have enough time to slow down and stop should the driver ahead brake suddenly. Additionally, keep an eye on cars ahead, paying close attention to their brake lights and prepare to stop when necessary.
Don’t let the daylight fool you into a false sense of security. Between 2003 and 2007, about 70% of road construction site fatalities happened between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:59 p.m. Drivers may think that they are safer in the daylight because they believe that they can see everything and everyone around them. However, this is not true. Drivers still need to be extra cautious of their surroundings during construction, even when the sun is out. Driving slowly and avoiding distractions is the best way to keep an eye out for road workers and other drivers.
Following these tips will help ensure that road construction doesn’t go from a daily hassle into a lifelong injury or problem. Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz is here to help if you or a loved one has been injured by an inattentive driver. Contact us today at 763-560-0000 or toll free at 800-365-6666.