Speeding Motorists Are a Danger in Work Zones

As the weather warms up, commuters should begin to see more work zones on Virginia’s roads. Construction is ongoing in the summer months, with many roads torn up, paved over, or widened. Unfortunately, work zone accidents are a serious problem, and large numbers of people around the country are injured. These accidents have some predictable causes, including speeding and driver distraction. Accidents happen too often, and both other motorists and Department of Transportation workers end up getting hurt. Call Correll Law Firm today to speak with a car accident lawyer at our firm after a work zone collision. We can analyze your legal rights to a settlement. 

How Serious Are Work Zone Accidents?

Thousands of work zone accidents happen every month around the country. The latest statistics from the Federal Highway Administration pegs the number at 956 people killed in fatal work zone accidents in 2021. In 2020, about 44,000 people were injured in these crashes.

About 24% of accidents were rear-end collisions, and 33% involved a commercial motor vehicle, like a tractor-trailer. Speeding was a factor in 32% of accidents.

Congestion is one reason these accidents are dangerous. If a car crashes, then it’s likely to strike construction workers. The vehicle might also set off a chain reaction which ends up damaging dozens of vehicles and sending countless victims to the hospital.

Major Causes of Work Zone Accidents

Work zones accidents are more likely because of the restricted space. Construction workers typically close at least one lane and use flaggers to stop traffic. In such tight spaces, an accident is more likely to occur.

Some accidents stem from:

  • Speeding. The faster a driver is going, the less time they have to react. They might not brake in time as they see the work zone approaching, or they plow into a vehicle in front of them. Speeding motorists also have less time to avoid hitting a construction worker who steps into the flow of traffic. Statistics show speeding is a factor in roughly 1 in 3 fatal accidents.
  • Distraction. This is another major cause of car accidents. Distracted drivers might not even see signs warning them to slow down as they approach the work zone. They could also fail to see a car in front of them braking. Some major causes of distraction include cell phones.
  • Poor lighting. Anyone driving through a zone at night could be unable to see construction workers who are working in the dark.
  • Improperly constructed work zones. Signage could be missing, or the single lane of traffic might be too narrow. Other work zones have debris or tools in the road.

These are some major reasons for collisions in work zones. The most common accidents are rear-end collisions, rollovers, and pedestrian accidents.

How to Drive Safely & Reduce Your Risk of Accidents

Motorists should do everything possible to limit the possibility of a collision. A multi-car pileup in a work zone is a real possibility, and it could be hard for emergency personnel to reach everyone who is badly hurt. Thus, the best option is to avoid an accident in the first place.

The National Safety Council recommends that motorists do the following:

1.       Avoid a work zone, if possible. You can research your route every morning to see if there’s construction. If so, you might take an alternate route and avoid congestion.

2.       Obey all signs and flaggers. If a sign tells you to slow down, then you should do so. Stop when a flagger tells you to stop. Some work zones use lights, which many drivers ignore, especially at night when traffic is light. But that’s a big mistake—and an easy way to get into a head-on collision with a driver passing through on a green light.

3.       Put away phones and other distractions. You want both eyes on the road. You shouldn’t even adjust the radio or air conditioning; wait until you exit the construction zone.

4.       Slow down! The faster you are going, the more deadly a collision. You also will have more time to hit the brakes if you are not speeding.

5.       Watch for workers. Construction workers could step into the flow of traffic at any moment. They should be wearing bright orange or yellow vests, but they are sometimes hard to see.

6.       Maintain a comfortable distance. Remember to leave several seconds of distance between you and the car in front of you. That will give you time to stop.

7.       Calm down. Some motorists get frustrated when they suddenly come upon a surprise work zone. They might be running late for work or an appointment. Unless you can safely turn around, there’s really nothing to do. Breathe deeply.

Can You Receive Compensation?

If you were struck in a work zone, you are probably dealing with significant injuries. A rear end collision can lead to whiplash, concussion, neck fracture, and chest injuries. A rollover is also dangerous.

In Virginia, anyone injured in a car accident can seek compensation from the person who is at fault. This is a legal and factual question. We need to reconstruct what happened to see who is responsible for the accident. In many cases, we can sue a distracted or speeding motorist, as well as anyone who failed to obey traffic signals.

In some situations, we might sue whoever set up the construction zone. Negligent set-up can lead to accidents when motorists strike tools or equipment in the road or must swerve to avoid colliding with an improperly placed barrier.

Contact Correll Law Firm. Our car accident attorney can open an investigation if hired to find probative evidence. Once we establish fault, we can submit a claim on the driver’s liability coverage or possibly sue them in a personal capacity. The goal is to obtain financial compensation for our clients.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

All car accident cases are unique. To improve your odds of a fair settlement, hire an experienced lawyer at Correll Law Firm. Our lawyer has obtained many settlements for clients. Call 540-535-2005 today.