Tips to Help Prevent Car Accident Injury in Construction Work Zones
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Work zones and construction areas pose a significant risk to both road construction workers and motorists. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, over two people per day were killed in work zone crashes. Across Michigan in 2020, 4,035 work zone crashes resulted in 11 fatalities.
To stay safe on the road with construction workers and other drivers, you can take several precautions to avoid causing an accident. Work zone safety on roads and highways can reduce the risk of personal injury or wrongful death in construction accidents.
What Causes Auto Accidents in Construction Zones
According to Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning, these factors commonly cause auto accidents in construction zones:
Distracted and inattentive drivers cause the majority of work zone collisions. This is incredibly dangerous, even on roads with no construction activity. Drivers who text or talk on the phone or adjust their GPS while driving can increase the risk of a collision. In Michigan, texting while driving is banned with the exemption of integrated voice-operated systems.
Speeding is the leading cause of fatalities in work zone crashes. Since Michigan requires drivers to adjust speeds to road conditions, the state also takes speeding in work zones seriously, with severe penalties for your license and insurance. If you are found speeding in a construction zone, you may receive additional points on your license. Additionally, Michigan allows insurance companies to charge you extra for points on your license because of the increased risk of auto accidents.
Inattention to Road Safety Signs
To protect the safety of both workers and drivers, road construction work requires detours and reduced speeds. Traffic rerouting is announced with signs showing “Work Zone Begins” and “End Road Work” signs as well as”Begin Work Convoy” and “End Work Convoy” per Michigan’s Andy’s Law. Bright orange barriers and flashing lights can also be placed around the zone.
However, even when signs are posted, construction zone accidents still happen. Most construction zone accidents occur around closed lanes. Construction on the shoulder/median and lane shifts/crossovers result in the second and third highest number of work zone crashes.
Safety Tips for Driving Through a Construction Work Zone
Before you go on the road, you can check Michigan’s Department of Transportation for ongoing construction zones so you can plan your route. When you cannot avoid a road construction zone, you can follow these tips to help you stay safe:
Be aware of your surroundings
You should pay close attention to the road at all times, but this is especially important in construction zones. Obey any posted signs in road construction zones, including reduced speed limits or no-passing signs.
Slow down and be mindful of construction workers
Work zones are filled with lane closures, altered traffic patterns, and slower speeds. Keep your eyes open for road workers as you approach a construction zone.
Be mindful of your distance from the vehicle in front of you, as rear end collisions are common in road construction sites. If there is a lane closure, move into the next open lane quickly and watch for cars in your blind spot.
Use headlights when necessary
Michigan does not mandate headlights when driving through a work zone. However, if visibility is poor because of the weather, it’s best to turn them on. If an oncoming vehicle is within 500 feet, you should dim your high beams to improve the visibility of other drivers.
Don’t use cell phones while driving
When you are driving, it’s important to remain attentive. You do not have to pay attention to text messages, emails, and phone calls on your cell phone while behind the wheel, and avoid fiddling with any equipment such as your radio or GPS.
If You Are in an Accident, Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Roadside construction sites can be dangerous, and accidents can still happen even with safety precautions in mind. If you or a loved one suffer injuries because of an accident, it’s critical to seek proper medical treatment and compensation for your losses.
Consult an experienced car accident lawyer to develop an attorney-client relationship and get legal advice. Your lawyer can assess the details of your case in your consultation because every individual case or situation is unique.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
What happens if a driver injures or kills someone in a road construction zone?
In 2008, Public Acts 296 and 297 of 2008 increased the penalties for drivers who injure or kill anyone in a construction zone with up to $7,500 in fines and up to 15 years in prison. These penalties previously applied only if a driver struck and killed a road construction worker.
What other offenses can happen in a construction zone?
Public Act 315 lowered the threshold for triggering Andy’s Law penalties. The law now includes reckless driving or speeding as civil offenses and criminal acts such as careless or drunk driving for penalties.
As a driver, could I be sued by a construction worker in a construction accident lawsuit?
If there is a car accident at a construction site, and you injure a construction worker, they can sue you for compensation for their injuries. Your actions need to prove you were at fault, such as driving while distracted or hitting a work zone sign that led to a chain reaction with the worker being injured.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.