Driving Safely in Highway Work Zones
Whether it is maintenance or new construction, there is no shortage of road work being performed all throughout Georgia and especially in the metro Atlanta area. In order to minimize inconvenience for motorists, whenever possible, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) performs road construction and maintenance without closing roads to traffic. However, work zones pose hazards to drivers and their passengers, as well as workers on the road. In fact, more than 50% of all fatal injuries to road construction workers are the result of being struck by a motor vehicle.
Motorists are even more likely to be injured or killed in highway work zone accidents than construction workers. With the general public accounting for 85% of work zone fatalities nationwide, it is incredibly important to drive safely in highway work zones. In 2017 alone, there were over 700 fatal work zone crashes nationwide resulting in almost 800 deaths. During the same period in the state of Georgia, there were over 20,000 work zone accidents. These accidents resulted in over 7,000 injuries and 55 fatalities. The most common causes of accidents in work zone areas include distracted driving, driving too fast for the conditions, and impaired driving or fatigue.
Because road construction often occurs overnight, road configuration and traffic patterns can vary day to day. For example, lanes may change, shift or be narrowed, and the speed limit in the area may be reduced. So even though you may have driven in the same area just the day before, pay attention to changes in the road to avoid being caught off guard and in an accident. Other tips on avoiding an accident in a work zone include the following:
Obey Signs, Roadway Markers & Flaggers
Along with driving cautiously and courteously, paying attention to signs, roadway markers, and flaggers will help you avoid accidents while driving through a work zone. Warning signs generally have an orange background with black letters or symbols. Signs are used with flaggers or other traffic control devices (such as amber lights) to direct traffic safely through work zones and protect motorists and workers.
Reduce Your Speed in Work Zones
In most work zones, the speed limit is reduced for safety. Black and orange signs are used to identify safe speeds for specific conditions within a highway construction zone, while standard black and white speed limit signs indicate official speed limit reduction requirements. Even if the speed limit is not reduced in work zone, you should still be more cautious of road conditions, lane position, and workers.
Adjust Your Lane Position
Some lanes of traffic may be closed in work zones, and lane patterns may be changed to accommodate workers. Even with these precautions, workers may still be positioned near open lanes of traffic. If possible, you should change lanes away from them, or shift slightly within your lane to provide more distance between you and the workers.
If you find yourself behind a mobile work vehicle, such as a utility truck, street cleaner, or snow plow, slow down and merge right or left to move around the vehicle. Observe any signals or lights, which may be displayed to direct traffic. Always remember to keep a safe distance between the car in front of you as well as any road signs or equipment to further avoid being in an accident.
Contact KWFDM if You are Involved in a Work Zone Accident
If you have been involved in a Georgia work zone car accident, there may be more than one way for you to recover compensation for your damages. Talk to a lawyer from Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC in Atlanta to learn about your options for recovery. Please contact our office to preserve your legal rights to compensation for a work zone automobile wreck at (404) 460-0101.