When the weather gets warmer, there is no shortage of orange traffic flaggers and “Work Zone” signs on major U.S. roadways. However, many drivers throughout Missouri and Illinois fail to follow standard work zone safety protocols, causing thousands of accidents in road construction zones each year. Every April, the U.S. supports National Work Zone Awareness Week to bring key work zone safety information to everyone’s attention as road work season hits its peak.
Today and everyday, our car accident lawyers encourage you to keep your eyes on the road and take note of these five work zone safety tips.
Setting the Stage for Work Zone Safety
In 2022, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) reported 2,457 crashes in Missouri road work zones with a majority occurring between July 1 and September 30 when road construction is at its peak. Additionally, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) declared an average of over 6,000 work zone related crashes each year. With driver inattention ranking the highest for causing work zone related accidents, it is imperative that drivers pay attention to these work zone safety tips while driving to avoid a serious work zone accident.
1. Eyes Up, Phone Down.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of work zone related accidents in Missouri with 411 work zone related crashes in 2022. These accidents were caused by instances of driving while intoxicated or under the influence, texting, passenger distractions and just simply taking your eyes off the road. Whether it’s National Work Zone Awareness Week or just any other day on the road, you must pay attention to what lies ahead, especially in construction areas.
2. Pay Attention to Signs and Flashing Lights.
To maintain a safe environment for road workers, signs and flashing lights denote areas where drivers need to slow down in work zones and for MoDOT and IDOT vehicles that are moving below the speed limit.
One of the most common work zone accidents is when a protective vehicle such as a MoDOT or IDOT truck or trailer-mounted attenuator (TMA) is struck by a passenger vehicle or semi truck. Drivers should pay close attention to changing lanes, work zone vehicles and additional signs to keep themselves and workers safe from personal injury in a work zone car accident.
3. Watch for Workers.
Road work relies on its workers to do their jobs to make our roads safe. In turn, they rely on drivers to exercise caution so they may keep their road work schedules moving forward without an accident delaying their project. As soon as you see the signs and flashing lights of a work zone, stay vigilant for road workers to avoid hitting them, MoDOT or IDOT vehicles or their heavy work equipment.
4. Have Patience in Work Zones.
Work zone safety begins with patience from everyone on the road. While no one enjoys sitting in slowed traffic on their way to their destination, it is important to remember that the goal of road work is to improve our roads for future travels. National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week reminds each of us to follow the flow of traffic, avoid tailgating other vehicles, staying in your designated lane and actively watching for workers.
5. Reduce Your Speed.
While speeding is unsafe and illegal anywhere you drive, it is especially dangerous in work zones. Speeding accounted for 11% of work zone crashes in 2021 in Missouri. Increased speeds reduce a driver’s reaction time for sudden stops, limiting your car’s braking distance and your ability to merge safely. For example, if a work zone speed is 25 mph and you are traveling at 50 mph, you will need four times as much braking distance. Drivers need to adhere to posted speeds in work zones in order to avoid a serious car accident, otherwise it may lead to a work zone accident lawsuit.
Turn to our Trusted Missouri and Illinois Car Accident Lawyers
Paying attention to road construction and practicing work zone safety tips is the best way to avoid a serious work zone accident. Our Missouri and Illinois car accident lawyers understand how to best help you navigate your personal injury case. If you were recently injured in a work zone traffic accident, contact our team today to begin collecting evidence and prepare your case.
To learn more about National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, please visit nwzaw.org to explore their efforts across the country.