With federal stimulus money helping fund major transportation projects in Virginia, work zones are popping up all over the state. While necessary, work zones tend to be a nuisance for drivers who are often frustrated by delays and distractions along their regular commuting routes.
What many drivers don't realize is that it is their own best interest to drive safely through a road construction zone. About 85 percent of all people killed in work zone crashes are motorists and their passengers - not construction workers or other bystanders.
How unsafe drivers cause crashes in work zones
- Excessive speed. Speeding is one of the leading causes of work zone accidents. In Virginia, if you are caught speeding in a road work zone when workers are present you can face a fine of up to $500.
- Tailgating. Drivers who don't leave enough distance between their car and the car in front are asking for trouble. The most common type of crash in a work zone is a rear-end collision.
- Failing to keep a safe distance. Unsafe drivers don't keep a safe distance between their vehicle and construction workers or road construction equipment. A smaller distance means there is less room for error, and any mistake or evasive maneuver can quickly turn deadly.
- Driving while distracted. Distracted driving is dangerous anywhere, but is especially unsafe in a work zone where construction debris, vehicles and workers pose an additional risk. Even usually safe drivers can cause an accident if they take their attention off the road for a moment to adjust their radio or look for a dropped object.
- Ignoring posted signs. All work zones have warning signs or speed limit signs that alert drivers of upcoming hazards. Drivers who fail to notice these signs because they are distracted by a cell phone or text message or because they just aren't paying attention can cause serious accidents.
- Dismissing instructions from a road crew flagger. Some drivers don't want to be told what to do by a person waving a flag, however the law says that a flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign. Drivers who fail to obey a flagger can be cited.
With over 800 people killed every year in work zones - the vast majority of them passenger vehicle occupants - drivers need to pay special attention when approaching and moving through a road construction zone. Drivers who fail to pay attention in work zones deserve to be held accountable for their actions.
If you've been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, please contact the experienced personal injury and car crash attorneys at the Norfolk based law firm of Weisberg & Zaleski, P.C..