Distracted Drivers & Work Zone Accidents
Roadside construction sites are incredibly dangerous for both workers and passersby, especially in the state of Texas, where roads and highways are constantly being maintained and modified. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 3,300 people were killed in work zone collisions between 2011 and 2016. Unsurprisingly, most fatal work zone crashes involve distracted, rubbernecking drivers and rear-end collisions. In fact, drivers and passengers constitute most work zone fatalities, whereas pedestrians and highway workers only represent 14% of all reported casualties.
Distracted driving is a national epidemic that kills roughly nine Americans a day. When a distracted driver is responsible for a work zone accident, the following parties may sustain catastrophic and/or fatal injuries:
- Motor vehicle drivers
- Construction workers
Contrary to popular misconceptions, you don’t need to be distracted by an item or person to be a “distracted driver.” Even daydreaming constitutes distracted driving because the motorist’s attention isn’t focused on the road. The NHTSA has categorized three types of distracted driving: manual distractions, visual distractions, and cognitive distractions. In other words, if you aren’t giving 100% of your attention to the road, the vehicles and hazards around you, and the speed limit, you are distracted driving.
Most work zone accidents occur in the summer and fall months, which are known as “construction season.” Summer is officially over, but we have a good two months left of intense gridlocks, detours, and lane closures. To help you stay safe and out of the courtroom, the car accident lawyers at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC have compiled a list of 10 critical tips for driving around work zones:
- Plan a safe and efficient travel route in advance by checking TV reports, radio announcements, and/or news websites for traffic safety information.
- Avoid common distracted driving activities – eating, fiddling with the radio or GPS, etc. – when operating a motor vehicle.
- Pay attention to road signs, brake lights, and the actions of drivers around you – if they slow down, you slow down.
- Keep an eye out for cones, signs, and flaggers directing the flow of traffic.
- Merge into the proper lane as soon as possible, not right before you reach a lane closure.
- Change lanes safely and only when pavement markings and traffic conditions permit.
- Obey the posted speed limit; traffic lanes can narrow, shift, and close to help the employees working on the road.
- Be patient and calm when nearby vehicles stop, slow, or change lanes unexpectedly.
- Keep a safe distance away from the workers, work vehicles, and construction equipment, but also be prepared if they enter your lane without warning.
- Don’t rubberneck to see what the workers are up to.
- Driving defensively: avoid last-minute, lane changes, speed adjustments, and hard braking.
- Avoid engaging in reckless or distracted driving behaviors because you’re inconvenienced by the construction.
Have You Been Injured by a Distracted Driver?
The purpose of road construction is to maintain our streets and highways in the interest of public safety. But work zones can be loud, busy, and dangerous, and it’s impossible for a driver to control the surrounding chaos – including the actions of other drivers. If a collision occurs, you may have grounds to file a claim against multiple parties, including distracted drivers, subcontractors, and construction companies.
To learn more about your legal options, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC. Our client-driven litigators can investigate your case, pinpoint the negligent parties, and help you recover compensatory damages that facilitate your ongoing recovery process.
Call The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 to schedule a consultation.