The number of construction zone car accidents has increased in recent years. In 2020, work zone collisions were estimated to be over 102,000 nationwide. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) estimated fatalities to increase by 18 percent in 2021. There are several possible explanations for this trend.
The Dangers of Construction Zone Car Accidents
Data from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) shows that, in 2019 (the most recent data available), there were 2,462 work zone crashes. Of those, 49 resulted in serious injury, while 9 resulted in death. Because work zone accidents usually involve colliding with heavy machinery (and even people) at high rates of speed, the consequences can be devastating.
Increase in Construction Projects
Each year, CDOT takes on about 200 new construction projects that take place on state highways. While these projects are designed to improve the safety and efficiency of our roadways, they can also create new dangers for drivers.
Other projects involving road maintenance amount to nearly 25,000, where workers need to close down lanes, shoulders and even on/off ramps. This constant surge of construction projects results in an increased opportunity for work zone car accidents.
Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior that can lead to severe accidents, especially near work zones. When drivers are not paying attention to the road, they may not see:
- Equipment in the area.
- Warning signs.
- Traffic signals.
Drivers who are distracted by their phones or other devices are putting themselves and others at risk, so it is vital to be aware of the dangers and avoid this behavior while driving.
Flow of the Work Zone
The design of a work zone can potentially increase the chance of a car accident due to the narrowing of lanes or possible detours. Decreasing the space between lanes of traffic creates more of an opportunity for cars to sideswipe one another or scrape against a barrier accidentally.
Detours can commonly place drivers on unfamiliar roads, leading to stress and confusion or place many drivers on roads that are not necessarily meant for heavy flows of traffic.
Poorly Marked Roadways/Signage
Many construction workers are not adequately trained in how to mark a construction zone properly. As a result, they may fail to warn drivers properly of the dangers that exist in the area. Poorly marked roads or insufficient signage can also lead to confusion and delays in traffic, which can increase the likelihood of an accident.
Insufficient Lighting or Bad Weather
Poor weather and lack of lighting are both common causes of car accidents in construction zones. Low visibility makes it difficult for drivers to see potential hazards, while wet or icy roads can make it difficult to stop or turn in time. These conditions can be especially hazardous for construction workers who are often working close to traffic.
How to Drive Safely in a Work Zone
In order to prevent work zone accidents, it is imperative to exercise the utmost caution when traveling through an area under construction. Helpful safety tips include:
- Pay attention to the signs and flaggers present.
- Remain vigilant to any roadside markings.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop.
- Avoid distractions.
- Practice defensive driving.
Your Denver Car Accident Attorneys
At Boesen Law, we understand how devastating a work zone car accident can be. We are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will fight for your rights and ensure you get the best possible outcome. We know what it takes to succeed in these cases and are ready to guide you through the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation.
If you were involved in a car accident that resulted in serious injuries, call us today at (303) 327-9988 or schedule a free consultation by filling out our form online.