There are more than 4 million miles of roads in the U.S., including 210,000 miles in Alabama alone. As with everything else, those vast stretches of rural roads, city streets, and urban highways require regular maintenance and repairs to be usable by millions of drivers.
And while construction zones may seem like annoyances that add time to your commute, they’re essential for keeping our nation’s roads in good condition. They’re also potentially dangerous for you and the construction crews who work in them if you don’t pass through them cautiously and carefully.
Here’s how to reduce your risks of causing or being involved in a crash while navigating through an Alabama highway construction zone.
Almost all work zones have two things in common: reduced speed limits and increased fines for exceeding those speed limits. Speeding through a work zone is one of the most dangerous things you can do while you’re behind the wheel, as it makes you more likely to strike workers with your vehicle or drift into the path of other cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Maintain your reduced speed throughout the entire length of the work zone. Even if the work zone seems to have ended, you must still drive at a reduced speed until you see signage indicating that you’ve exited the construction area.
The traffic flow in work zones isn’t always straightforward or expected. Some work zones have sudden lane shifts, lane closures, and even stop signs. In some cases, workers may stand in or near the road to give drivers instructions on what to do, including stopping or yielding for incoming or outgoing machinery, dump trucks, and other heavy equipment.
Driving while distracted is always dangerous, but it’s particularly risky when passing through a highway work zone. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, and be prepared for the unexpected throughout the length of the construction zones.
Because work zones can be unpredictable and unusual in their traffic patterns and configurations, it’s important that you not only give yourself time and space to react, but also other drivers. That means leaving plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
When you increase your following distance, you have more time to react and stop or slow down if the driver in front of you suddenly slams on their brakes or has to swerve to avoid a collision.
Traffic shifts and lane closures are common in highway work zones, and they often require drivers to merge into adjacent lanes of travel. If you see signage indicating that a lane shift is up ahead, get ready to change lanes as soon as you can do so safely. Waiting until the last minute is dangerous, as you may run out of room on the road and be forced to dangerously merge in front of another vehicle.
If you use your smartphone’s GPS and maps functionality, you may be rerouted to avoid work zones. Doing so will not only save you time on your commute, but it can also make your drive safer. Even when you follow all recommended precautions in work zones, you still face greater risks due to the presence of workers, narrow lanes, and sudden lane shifts.
Driving through an active construction zone is like having all of your driving skills put to the test. It requires extreme caution, focus, and the ability to maintain control of your vehicle in tight quarters and in heavy traffic. Small mistakes are amplified in work zones, whether it’s speeding, looking away from the road even momentarily, or following another vehicle too closely.
When negligent drivers make these mistakes in work zones and injure innocent people, we spring into action. If you or someone you love was the victim of a construction zone crash, our Montgomery car accident lawyers want to help. Contact Vance Law Firm today for a free consultation.