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 in a construction zone is the main cause of accidents and deaths.
In order to protect highway workers and motorists, there are a lot of warnings and regulations. The real power to reduce construction zone accidents is in the hands of the driver. 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 show construction workers, and there are signs that state in plain terms, construction zone.
These signs are bolstered by speed limit signs that change as you approach the work zone. Failure to follow posted speed limits can bring about substantial legal sanctions. But the real purpose of all these signs is to protect drivers and workers.
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, these drivers may continue at normal highway speed, causing a wreck.
Construction zone signs are designed to be easy to see and obvious. They are almost all orange in color. Sometimes speed-related signs are white with black letters. It is also common to see large digital signs notifying motorists of changes ahead.
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 Breaking
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 will be 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 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
Adjusting in a way that other drivers don’t expect or doing something they can’t anticipate can cause accidents. In a construction zone, vehicles are often very close to each other. This close-quarters driving can lead to dangerous multi-vehicle accidents.
If you go against the flow of traffic or try to change it, other drivers may not be able to respond in time. This is why you can do things like slowing down over a greater distance in order to alert the drivers behind you to your intention.
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. These courses aren’t just for safety in a construction zone, they can help you in many ways.
Whether you are required to take a court-ordered defensive driving course, or your insurance premiums have gone up, we can help. Drive Safe Online uses modern online courses in order to teach defensive driving.
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. Check out one of our free demos and start driving better today.