If you live in the DFW area, you’re probably used to driving through work zones (and navigating the inevitable traffic they tend to cause). Highway projects in the Metroplex seem to go on for months, or sometimes even years, and you’re almost bound to encounter one if you plan on driving more than 10 miles in any direction. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there are currently 20 active work zones along I-35 alone, encompassing nearly 110 miles of roadway. That’s the largest number of work zones TxDOT has ever had on the state’s main corridor, and it all adds up to a whole lot of road rage and more than a few work zone-related auto accidents.
Work zone accidents in Texas
With almost twice as many miles of roads as any other state, Texas has the unfortunate distinction of ranking first in auto accident fatalities in work zones in the United States. The numbers are bleak: in 2013, there were more than 17,000 crashes in work zones in Texas, resulting in 3,522 serious injuries and 115 fatalities. And while workers are also in danger, motorists driving through work zones accounted for the majority of those fatalities.
Work zone safety
According to TxDOT, the two leading causes of work zone auto accidents are failure to control speed and driver inattention. Work zones are dangerous, so for the sake of the workers, your fellow drivers, and your passengers and yourself, it’s important to be alert and keep several safety tips in mind:
- Follow posted speed limits. Give yourself plenty of time to reduce your speed. You don’t want to be that person who slams on their brakes at the last minute and causes a pileup—nobody likes that person. And don’t forget that traffic fines double in work zones, so unless you enjoy throwing your money away, go ahead and pump your brakes.
- Pay attention. Hang up your phone, don’t text and drive, and save the McRib for later (you’re just going to get sauce all over your pants anyway). Between stop-and-go traffic and workers jackhammering the roads to perfection just a few feet away from your car, you can’t afford to be distracted.
- Patience is a virtue. Getting frustrated and driving aggressively through a work zone while spewing profanities that would make a sailor blush doesn’t help anyone (as cathartic as it may feel at the time). Road construction is a necessary evil: it may seem endless, but try to focus on how nice the roads will be when it’s complete (we’re looking at you, North Tarrant Express).
- Plan your trip accordingly. If you know your usual route is under construction, leave for your destination a little early or look for an alternate way to get there. If you aren’t sure if there’s construction on your route, you can visit the TxDOT website for updates on current traffic conditions.
Have you been involved in a work zone accident?
If you’ve been injured in a work zone accident, contact The Farah Law Firm today. Our experienced auto accident attorneys will discuss the process of initiating an insurance claim and the other options available to ensure that you receive the treatment and compensation you deserve.