With ongoing construction across Indiana, it’s not uncommon for Hoosier motorists to drive through construction work zones. Unfortunately, work zone accidents are incredibly common, and these accidents can lead to serious or fatal injuries to construction workers and motorists. In 2018 alone, 650 injuries occurred in Indiana work zones, and 14 people even lost their lives due to work zone traffic accidents.
What makes these fatal wrecks all the more tragic is that work zone accidents are often avoidable. And if drivers operate their vehicles reasonably, they can greatly reduce their likelihood of experiencing a serious collision. Here’s what you need to know about avoiding work zone accidents.
Follow Work Zone Signage
It’s usually easy to spot construction zones because these areas are littered with signage demanding caution from passing drivers. Although these signs are usually conspicuous, drivers still frequently fail to exercise proper care when entering work zones, increasing the likelihood of a serious or fatal accident.
These signs usually feature temporary speed limits and directions for navigating the zones safely. When drivers ignore these signs and fail to adjust their driving accordingly, they risk their lives and others’ lives as well. Failing to follow work zone signage can cause a driver to hit a worker, a traffic barrier, machinery, or another vehicle.
Drivers need to treat work zone signage like any other traffic law or signal to avoid accidents.
Avoid All Distractions
One common reason why Indiana drivers fail to notice work zone signage is because of distractions. Engaging in a distraction while driving is incredibly dangerous, especially in a work zone where workers are present.
Some common distractions include using a smartphone, adjusting your radio, and eating or drinking at the wheel.
Driving while distracted for even a second can cause a serious wreck. Work zones frequently have uneven lanes and construction vehicles on the edge of roadways. Operating your car while distracted will increase your likelihood of accidentally merging into another lane or wrecking into a construction vehicle.
Distracted driving is very common in construction zones because there’s often stop-and-go traffic. While your vehicle is stopped, it may be tempting to pull out your phone or engage in another distraction, but it’s critical that you always keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Reduce Your Speed and Following Distance
The most common reason why work zone accidents occur is speeding. Impatient and aggressive drivers often fail to abide by the slower speed restrictions and disregard others’ safety in the process. The slow speed limits in work zones are designed to keep drivers and construction workers safe, and failing to adjust your speed can result in serious repercussions.
In Indiana, a first-time offense for speeding on a highway or interstate work zone will result in a $300 fine, and the second offense will cost you a minimum of $500. Finally, a third offense within a three-year period will result in a fine of at least $1,000.
Road authorities are usually uncompromising and rigid when it comes to fining motorists because speeding can directly cause an accident that ends the life of a construction worker or another driver.
Make sure to also adjust your speed accordingly during bad weather conditions when roads may be slick or have poor visibility.
Additionally, you should also make sure to maintain a safe following distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. Stop-and-go traffic is common in work zones, so you don’t want to follow too closely when a motorist stops their vehicle. Keeping a safe following distance is also important in case there’s a collision in front of you.
Merge With Caution
Another common reason why work zone wrecks occur is due to dangerous merging. Drivers need to be especially cautious when merging in a work zone because the lanes are often narrow, curvy, and uneven.
Dangerous merging is especially common in work zones because drivers may change lanes suddenly to pass other vehicles in stop-and-go traffic.
One of the most common ways that merging accidents occur is due to a lack of awareness of an upcoming construction zone. Drivers may merge in an area where the traffic lanes first become narrow, curved, or uneven, and they may fail to adjust their speed appropriately before merging. Merging while speeding can then cause a driver to accidentally strike a vehicle, run off the road, or hit a guard rail.
What Should I Do After a Wreck in Indiana?
If you exercise proper caution when entering a work zone, you’ll greatly decrease the likelihood of getting into an accident, but wrecks are never entirely unavoidable. Another driver could strike you while merging or engaging in dangerous maneuvers.
If you suffer from a wreck in a construction zone, make sure to take the following actions:
- Call 911 or Road Authorities: If you or another person is injured in the accident, call 911. If no one suffered notable injuries, you still need to contact road authorities because you can use the police’s accident report for your claim. Additionally, you’re legally obligated to contact the police if anyone suffers an injury or if vehicle damages exceed $1,000.
- Gather Evidence at the Scene: If you’re physically able, you need to take pictures and videos at the scene of the accident. Additionally, speak to any eyewitnesses, and make sure to write down their names and contact information.
- Seek Medical Assistance: Even if you don’t think you’ve suffered from an injury, you should still seek medical assistance in case you’ve experienced delayed onset injuries. If the wreck injured you and you fail to seek medical attention promptly, you’ll have a harder time proving that the accident directly caused your injuries.
- Contact an Attorney: Hiring an Indiana car accident attorney will greatly increase your likelihood of recovering compensation for vehicle damages and personal injuries. They’ll help you prove your claim or lawsuit, and they’ll work to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of damages possible.
For legal assistance you can depend on in Indiana, contact the Flores Law Group. We’re committed to fighting on behalf of our clients so that they receive the money they deserve for their injuries. Call us today at 317-900-2556, or you can come to our office. You can also contact us online for a free case consultation.