Driving in Construction Zones: A Situation Ripe for Collisions
Jacksonville saw another Monday morning pile-up on I-295 in December 2016. In this case, the five-care accident was the result of sudden lane merges that forced unexpected slowing and stopping on the highway in a construction zone.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) states that crashes are up by 30 percent in 2016; construction sites seem to correlate with the increase in these pile-ups. Studies show that construction zones are hazardous nationwide. In addition to roughly 200,000 injuries sustained in these areas over the past five years, there have been more than 4,000 fatalities.
Why are construction zones so perilous? According to FHP, there are several factors at play:
- Distracted drivers (often due to cell phone use), who don’t pay attention to the arrows directing them of upcoming changes to the road;
- Last-minute attempts at lane changes;
- Speeding through rough or winding lanes;
- Unfamiliarity with road hazards and/or traffic patterns;
- Many tourists are unsure of directions.
Construction zones are a fact of life for anyone who commutes in Florida. How can we stay safe? Consider these safety tips:
- Be alert. Watch for workers, traffic signs, and changes in traffic.
- Slow down. Orange, diamond-shaped signs are there to warn you of hazards, so pay attention to them.
- Watch for flaggers, who have the same authority as regulatory signs.
- Merge as soon as possible when you see lane closure signs.
- Slow down as soon as signs direct you to do so.
- Make sure you can always see the tires of the vehicle in front of you. Keeping a safe distance of two seconds of braking distance between cars can help to avoid rear-end collisions.
- Continue to obey warnings on posted signs even if you don’t see workers or construction.
- Try to avoid the work zones when you can by planning ahead.
- As always, avoid distractions such as cell phones. Focus on driving safely.
Remember, even if you are lucky enough to avoid a collision, you could be cited for speeding (with double the fine in a construction zone), distracted driving, or reckless driving.
When Your Collision Results in Injury
Unfortunately, rear-end collisions are all too common in work zones. Even at low speeds, these types of crashes can cause devastating injuries. Research indicates that 85 percent of head and neck injuries sustained in accidents occur as a result of rear-end collisions. In some cases, the effects of whiplash can last for many years.
In the event you are involved in a multi-vehicle crash that involves serious injuries, you will want experienced representation to help sort out the details of the crash. Determining fault and financial responsibility can get messy when several drivers are involved. Our team at Scoma Law Firm has experience investigating, negotiating and litigating vehicle collisions. We will ensure you have aggressive, personalized representation. Contact our Clermont office today for your confidential, no-cost consultation.