by Tim O’Hare
At any given time, there are as many as 1,000 active work zones in Texas; dozens of these are on highways in Dallas-Ft. Worth alone. Every day thousands of construction workers put their lives in the hands of Texas drivers.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, during the past five years in work zone crashes, more than 4,400 people were killed (85 percent of those were the driver or passenger of a vehicle) and more than 200,000 people were injured. In Texas, there are approximately 15,000 crashes and more than 100 people killed in highway construction and maintenance zones every year. The leading causes of work zone accidents in Texas are excessive speed, distracted driving and drunk driving.
Improving Texas roadways is a never-ending project, and as frustrating as that fact might be for drivers, it is important that everyone on the road drive through construction zones with extreme caution. Remember these tips to help avoid an accident when driving through a work zone:
Stay alert and minimize distractions. Keep your full attention on the roadway. Avoid changing the radio station, using your phone, eating or other distractions that can remove your concentration from the road.
Pay attention to the road. “Listen” to signs posted in the area. Watch brake lights on vehicles ahead of you and pay attention to traffic around you, always being prepared to react.
Merge into the proper lane. Don’t wait until the last minute to merge before you reach a lane closure. As soon as you see the first sign of a lane closure ahead, begin making your way over into the proper lane. Keep in mind that traffic patters can change daily.
Slow down and obey the posted speed limit. Speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes. Workers may be present just feet away from where cars pass. Remember, traffic fines double in work zones.
Follow instructions from flaggers. When flaggers are present on the road, paying full attention to their instructions is imperative to keeping you and others on the road safe
Don’t tailgate. Always keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Expect the unexpected. Workers, work vehicles or equipment may enter your lane without warning. Other vehicles may slow, stop or change lanes unexpectedly.
Be patient. Delays from highway construction can be frustrating, but it only takes a few extra minutes to slow down for a work zone.
Plan ahead. Leave a few minutes early when traveling through a work zone in order to reach your destination on time.
If you have been injured in a work zone car crash, or if you have lost a family member due to an accident in a construction zone, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free consultation with a Dallas – Ft. Worth personal injury attorney.
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