As someone who regularly commutes or drives in Washington, you have probably seen firsthand just how common work zones are on the state’s roadways. Whether workers are repairing damaged roads, adding new infrastructure to a community or what have you, work zones have become a regular, unavoidable part of life for most motorists, but they are also undeniably dangerous.
Just what is it about work zones that make them so dangerous?
Road construction in and of itself can play a major role in accidents, and this can happen for any number of reasons. Motorists may not be able to adapt easily to changes in once-familiar traffic patterns, and they may also find that their visibility decreases when trying to navigate around trucks, construction signage and other possible obstructions.
While road construction on its own presents certain dangers, other motorists making their way through work zones can also cause you harm, and this is particularly true if those other drivers are engaging in dangerous driving behaviors. For example, while anyone who speeds runs the risk of causing an accident, those who speed through work zones may have a particularly hard time making sudden stops and avoiding crashes.
In fact, speeding was a factor in 28 percent of all fatal work zone crashes that took place in 2014, and rear-end collisions are also especially common in these construction areas, accounting for more than 40 percent of 2013’s fatal work zone crashes.
Unfortunately, the number of people who are losing their lives in the nation’s work zones is on the rise, rising nearly 8 percent between 2014 and 2015 and an even more troubling 42 percent between 2013 and 2015. Additionally, in 2014, 2 percent of all road deaths that occurred across the nation were the result of work zone accidents.
While wearing a seatbelt and being extra careful when working your way through road construction can help keep you safe, there is only so much you can do when other drivers behave negligently behind the wheel.