Work zone accidents in Arkansas are not an uncommon occurrence. As many roadways throughout the state are being repaired, crash rates are climbing. While we’re dedicated to helping accident victims recover compensation for their losses, we also want to aid in the prevention of serious and deadly work zone crashes. Whether you’ve been driving for years or you’re new to the road, it’s a good idea to brush up on some safety tips for reducing your risk of a motor vehicle accident in a work zone.
Safety Tips for Minimizing Work Zone Accidents
All across the country, thousands of people are injured in work zone accidents every year. In Arkansas, we see a number of serious injuries and fatalities related to work zone collisions. It’s up to the drivers on the road to operate their vehicles in a manner that doesn’t create harm. To encourage the prevention of work zone accidents, we’ve compiled a list of tips drivers can keep in mind the next time they encounter construction on a roadway.
- Stay Alert. Distracted driving is the number one contributor to work zone accidents. While you should always be focused behind the wheel, dedicating your full attention to the roadway is even more important when construction is a factor. Avoid using your phone, changing the radio station, eating, or other distractions.
- Pay Attention to the Road. You should always be on the lookout for road work signs. They often pop up miles before the construction begins. If you see a sign indicating “Road Work Ahead,” be prepared for unusual driving conditions. You may see signs that indicate ending or changing lanes or a flagger or pilot car. Once you see the “End Road Work” sign, you can resume normal, safe driving. While in the work zone, it’s also a good idea to pay extra attention to the brake lights around you. If cars seem to be coming to a sudden stop, be prepared to brake.
- Merge Properly. When you see signs indicating lane closures or traffic cones guiding cars one way or another, merge well before you reach the lane closure. Just because you take the same route every day, doesn’t mean traffic patterns will stay the same. Be prepared to follow directions from road signs.
- Turn Your Headlights On. No matter what time of day it is, turn your vehicle’s headlights on when you’re driving through a work zone. This makes you more visible to workers and the cars around you.
- Avoid Tailgating. If you’re tailgating when someone needs to quickly apply their brakes because of upcoming construction, you could easily rear-end them. Be sure to leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you, so you have time to slow down and stop if need be.
- Obey the Speed Limit. Speed limits are often reduced in work zones. This is for good reason. Not only does it give you more control over your vehicle and the ability to stop faster, but it protects the workers. If conditions warrant you go slower than the posted limit, that’s okay. It’s also important to note that fines are often doubled for moving traffic violations in work zones.
- Be Prepared for Anything. You should always expect the unexpected while driving. In a construction zone, a worker, heavy machinery, or other equipment could enter your lane with little or no warning. There’s also the possibility of the lanes shifting unexpectedly.
- Be Patient. We understand that work zones can hold up traffic. Keep in mind that being a little late to your destination is always better than not making it to your destination at all.
Work Zone Safety Initiatives in Arkansas
In order to meet their goal of having no more than 11 work zone fatalities and 12 serious injuries in Arkansas by 2022, the Arkansas Department of Transportation implemented the Arkansas Work Zone Safety and Mobility Policy. This policy focuses on engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency services.
In regard to engineering, the state plans to apply work zone countermeasure to reduce crash rates, while improving work zone management. They also plan to educate the public regarding work zone safety and the penalties for violations. If a driver is caught violating a work zone traffic law, law enforcement officials will step in. Because of the number of accidents, the state is also addressing incident response, particularly for high exposure projects.
Even with the safety tips and initiatives, negligent drivers are still going to cause accidents in work zones. If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a wreck that wasn’t your fault, you have the right to take legal action.
At McMath Woods P.A., our attorneys have extensive experience representing accident victims. We’ll help you hold the liable party accountable for your injuries and ensure you have the compensation you need to recover and get your life back in order. For more information on the benefits of working with a legal representative after a crash, contact us today.