You’ve heard that old joke about Iowa – the one where we have two seasons: winter and road construction. The snow is gone, which means drivers are in the thick of road construction season. Every year, personal injury lawyers have many clients who have been involved in a road construction zone auto accident.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 78% of construction zone deaths were non-construction workers. That means every year thousands of motorists are injured and killed while driving through construction work areas. This sobering statistic shows why now is a good time to review some of the things you can do to stay safe while traveling through construction zones.
1. Slow Down through Construction Zones
It seems obvious, but reducing your speed while navigating through construction is one of the easiest ways to keep you and your family safe. Following the posted speeds can make it easier to avoid any hazards in the road and give you more time to stop. Often the reason for collisions in these areas is because people were simply going too fast.
2. Keep Plenty of Distance between Cars
Rear-end collisions are the most common construction zone auto accidents. These crashes happen so often because people follow too close in construction zones. Sudden stops are frequent in many construction zones, especially during peak hours.
Even if you keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you, there may be a car behind you that is coming too close. Your first instinct may be to hit the brakes. If you do this enough, that just means the person following you won’t know when you’re being serious about braking. Instead, if a car continues to tailgate you, ease off the accelerator. This may not save you from getting rear-ended, but there may be less damage if something happens.
3. Watch Out for Changes in the Road
Potholes, drop-offs, debris, and many other factors can change the road in front of you from safe to unsafe. Construction companies are required to mark the extreme changes in the road with signage, but heavily-trafficked areas can see a deep pothole or big drop-off grow worse quickly. Debris is also common in construction zones, especially during windy days when some materials are more likely to blow into your lane.
4. Wear Your Seatbelt
Wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to escape death or serious injury if you are involved in a car crash. Thousands of lives each year are saved by seat belts. Everyone in your vehicle should be encouraged to buckle up at all times, whether they sit in the front or the back. If you are involved in a collision in a construction zone, seat belts could save you and your family from serious injury.
5. Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving and construction zones do not mix. Texting and driving, especially through a work area, is hazardous and should be avoided at all costs. Phone calls should also be put on hold or discontinued while you are driving through construction zones. The safest practice is to put your cell phone away while you are driving.
Here are a few other things you can do to minimize distractions through construction zones:
- Turn down any music
- No eating or drinking
- Avoid using GPS navigation systems or other vehicle technology
- Ask your children or passengers to be quiet so you can concentrate on driving
If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a construction zone auto accident in Iowa this year, call the RSH Legal personal injury lawyers at 319-519-4193. Before you call, you can download our Law Guide to Iowa Car Accident Claims for more information about your rights.