Road construction zones can be frustrating and costly for automobile drivers. Congested traffic, detours, delays, and even damage to your car from construction debris. However, mere frustration or being late for work can be the least of your concerns. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 100,000 road construction zone injuries each year, and every week approximately 12 work zone crashes result in at least one fatality.
With the increasing number of injuries in road construction areas, knowing how you or your loved ones can be compensated is extremely important. It’s also crucial to know the common hazards that lead to these injuries and how they may be avoidable. This article discusses these topics and advises on what you should do if you are injured in a construction zone accident.
Common hazards and how to avoid them
Although road construction is necessary to improve and maintain our highways and streets, the very nature of the work provides numerous hazards that significantly increase the likelihood of injuries. From distracted drivers to improper contractor precautions, some of the most common hazards contributing to road construction zone injuries or death include:
- Debris or equipment left in roadway
- Collisions with equipment or vehicles
- Improperly marked or uneven lanes
- Distracted driving
- Uneven road surfaces
- Failure to follow temporary traffic signs and patterns
- Improper merging
- Inadequate lighting
- Speeding cars
Most work zone accidents occur because drivers are not paying attention or there is a sudden change in their driving environment. On top of this, the mere frustration of road construction can cause drivers to become impatient or angry and not drive as safely as the work zone requires.
For example, only 16% of fatal accidents are caused by rear-end accidents in non-work zone areas. Conversely, in construction zones the percentage skyrockets to 41%. Moreover, excessive speed entering or going through a construction zone is a factor in nearly 35% of work zone accidents. Drivers that speed through these areas are traveling too fast to avoid hazards in the road, other motorists, or workers in the roadway.
These accidents can be avoidable, however. To avoid construction zone car accidents drivers should slow down, and follow the signs and construction flaggers directing traffic. Also, drivers should watch for heavy equipment backing into the roadway, and expect other drivers to slow down or stop with little to no notice. Additionally, even if a lane looks like it is clear, do not try to bypass the construction. Hundreds of construction workers are injured or killed every year when impatient drivers enter the construction zone in an attempt to save time.
What to do after a construction zone car accident
If you are injured in a construction zone accident or if you are a construction worker injured by a careless or distracted driver, it is important to know your rights and how you can be fairly compensated. As laws regarding automotive accidents and workers compensation in North Carolina are quite complex, it is important to engage a qualified attorney that knows the laws and can help ensure you are adequately protected.
Accidents in construction zones have many causes, ranging from driver negligence to improper site care. Whatever the reason, it is likely that anyone injured in the construction zone will engage their insurance company and you can expect a call from their insurance soon after the accident. As the insurance company may seek to limit liability and push you into a quick settlement, you’ll want an experienced attorney that will negotiate on your behalf and get the amount you are owed.
Road construction zones can be a very frustrating thing, both for drivers as well as the workers that have to watch out for cars zooming by as they work. While many of these accidents are avoidable, statistics show that the number of accidents won’t be decreasing anytime soon. If you are injured in a construction zone, make sure you speak with a qualified attorney that will help you navigate the laws of North Carolina and will advocate on your behalf to ensure you or your loved one is adequately compensated.