Every day, highway construction workers put their lives in the hands of drivers. Too many die each year, while thousands more get injured. Many of those injuries are life altering. What are the causes of highway construction collisions?
Accidental contact with barriers is a common cause of highway worker injuries and death. Drivers who are not concentrating or are distracted are others. Speeding in work zones is a major cause. Road rage duels are a growing common cause. Slow moving or stopped work vehicles in a construction zone contribute. Inclement weather causing poor visibility and darkness are other concerns. Changing traffic patterns can throw drivers into dangerous lane changes that result in crashes. Another hazard is vehicle contact with construction materials or debris. Inexperienced drivers may cause hazardous conditions. And let’s not forget driver fatigue. If you’re tired, get off the road and rest. You’ll be glad you did.
But by far the most common cause of highway construction workers is being struck by a vehicle. We understand that this may not always be the fault of the driver. A worker can trip or fall into the path of a vehicle, especially in the dark or in bad weather. Whatever the cause, why do most drivers fail to slow down in highway construction areas, even when reduced speeds are clearly marked, as are lane restrictions?
Simply put, we are selfish. We find speed zones in construction areas an inconvenience when we want to be home now. Or we want this load delivered now so we can head back to the yard. What are we thinking? People are dying or getting maimed for life. We really need to slow down, obey the road signs, and concentrate on our driving to slow this epidemic.
A good start is to create educational programs that inform the driving public and another to prepare highway workers about safety procedures in a work zone. And these educational programs must be indefinitely ongoing. New drivers hit the road every day who are uninformed of what it takes to keep everyone safe in a construction zone.
Accidents in highway construction areas happen all over North America. In some areas, signs are posted showing penalties to drivers who injure or kill a highway construction worker. The penalties include fines and lengthy jail times up to years. With all these reasons to slow down and drive safely, drivers still ignore the risks. But no one wants prison time or even large fines. So, all we want is for drivers to take a few moments to consider the workers risking their lives to make the highways better for you. That’s what they’re doing; take the time to obey the signs. We’ll all feel better for it. Motor on. And take your time.