In the United States, 722 people a year die in construction zone accidents. That comes out to almost two people dying in a construction zone auto accident every day. Speeding is the main cause of accidents and deaths in construction zones.
There are several warnings and regulations in place to protect highway workers and motorists.. However, the real power to reduce construction zone accidents is in the hands of drivers. Accidents in construction zones are almost always the fault of one or more drivers.
Construction Zone Signs
There are many signs that are common before a construction zone. Some signs indicate changes in the speed limit, such as reduced speed ahead signs. Other signs display a construction worker to alert drivers that people are working in the area. And there are signs that state in plain terms, Construction Zone.
You may also see signs that indicate:
- Road closed
- Lane merges
- Hazardous materials on roadway
Speed limit signs that indicate a change in speed let you know that road conditions are about to change. For example, you might encounter gravel or uneven surfaces
Most construction signs are diamond- or rectangular-shaped with orange coloring and black lettering. You may also see electronic signals to control the flow of traffic, as well as orange cones and orange and white striped barrels and barricades to indicate areas that are off limits.
By using these signs, the hope is that drivers will not be surprised by construction areas. Distracted drivers who don’t notice these signs aren’t just dangerous to workers, but to other motorists as well. When other drivers slow down, distracted drivers may continue at normal highway speed and cause a wreck.
Construction Zone Speed Limit
Federal guidelines exist and the average speed in a work zone is between 45 mph and 55 mph. This is to give drivers and workers enough time to react to dangerous situations. There are often signs indicating reduced speed zones ahead of construction zones as well.
Off the highway, many construction zones require speeds of 20 miles per hour or less. These zones can be very congested with traffic, so attentiveness is vital. Many of these zones also control the flow of traffic with pilot vehicles and handheld stop signs.
In many states, it is a requirement that there are signs posting the reduced speed zone. It is important to know the local laws of the state you’re in so that you can fully comply with all regulations. Failure to do so results in significant penalties for guilty drivers.
Construction Zone Laws
In addition to regulations on the speed limit in construction zones, other laws apply. State laws vary, but all states have increased penalties for speeding in work zones. This can double the fines received inside of a work zone. In some states, it depends on if workers are present, but in most it doesn’t.
There are many benefits to defensive driving, and in a construction zone, you will save a lot of money. As the average fines are doubled, tripled, or more, the expense can become a daunting amount. Even a minor violation inside a work zone can have a fine of hundreds of dollars attached to it.
Construction Zone Safety Tips
Staying safe in a construction zone would be easy if everyone followed the law. The reality is that a lot of drivers aren’t paying attention or willfully speeding. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do in order to minimize the chances you’ll be in a wreck.
1. Avoid Sudden Braking
It is not always easy to avoid sudden braking. If you pay close attention, you should have enough warning to reduce your speed in a controlled fashion. This will alert the drivers behind you that you are slowing down and can prevent a rear-end collision.
2. Avoid Sudden Lane Changes
Signs are posted if a lane change is needed. Don’t try to get ahead of the line by staying in a closing lane. If you do, you’ll be forced to change lanes and at the mercy of other drivers in traffic to let you in. If they don’t, you’ll run out of road and will either have to stop or find yourself in an accident.
3. Follow the Speed Limit
Conditions can change inside a construction zone without much warning. Heavy equipment can pull onto the road, or work crews can have to cross. Following the speed limit will help you avoid accidents or collisions with work crews because you will have time to stop.
There is also paying a fine to consider and the increase in your insurance premiums. The more tickets and incidents you are in, the more this cost will go up. Following the speed limit will save you money in more than just fines, and it will do so over the entire time you are driving.
4. Stay with the Flow of Traffic
Conditions can change inside a construction zone without much warning. Heavy equipment can pull onto the road, or work crews can cross lanes. Following the speed limit will give you time to stop, which will help you avoid accidents.
If you are caught speeding, you will then have to face the consequences. Fines for speeding in a work zone can be costly. Additionally, you ‘ll need to consider the possibility that your insurance premium will increase. The more tickets you collect and accidents you are in, the more money you will need to pay. Following the speed limit will save you money in more than just fines, and it will do so over the entire time you are driving.
Speeding in a Construction Zone Is Dangerous
No matter how you look at it, speeding in a construction zone is a bad idea. State laws vary, so you should consider taking a defensive driving course that fits your state to fully understand local laws and regulations. Remember, ignorance is no excuse. When you slip behind the wheel of a vehicle, you commit yourself to knowing and following the rules of the road.
Whether you are required to take a court-ordered defensive driving course, or your insurance premiums have gone up, we can help. You may be able to use our DriveSafe Online completion certificate to dismiss a traffic ticket. Fewer points on your driving record can help you get a more competitive insurance quote.
If you want to take control of your insurance premiums, reduce your chances of getting into a life-altering wreck, or just drive better, we can help. Take a free demo and start driving better today.