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Tips for safe driving through construction zones

Whether the goal is to repair damaged roads, expand a highway or complete a construction project next to a busy thoroughfare, work zones will start to crop up across the state in no time. In fact, as Georgia moves through spring into summer, drivers have likely already started encountering construction zones on their daily commutes. Unfortunately, motor vehicle collisions in road construction zones can lead to severe injuries or fatalities.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT), there were 17,297 work zone crashes in 2020 resulting in 5,123 injuries. Additionally, there were 24 work zone collision deaths in 2020. The data suggests that the bulk of the collisions (53%) were either roadway departures or rear-end crashes. Both accident types are generally tied to factors such as driver distraction, driver impairment and driving too fast for conditions.

The DOT encourages drivers to remember valuable tips while traveling through a work zone no matter the time of day, weather conditions or flow of traffic:

  • Reduce your speed: Slow down and avoid tailgating. By increasing your follow distance, you give yourself a better chance to avoid danger in front of you.
  • Observe safety signals: From warning signs to signal flaggers, it is crucial that you pay attention to what is happening ahead of you. The signs might warn of a lane shift, a merge or construction vehicles entering the roadway at a slow rate of speed.
  • Avoid distractions: While this is important advice for drivers at any time, it is wise to avoid any type of distraction when driving through a work zone. This can also include visual distractions such as paying more attention to the construction project than the road itself.
  • Plan ahead: It is wise to leave early when you know you’ll be traveling through a work zone. This removes a significant amount of stress drivers may feel when slowed down by construction projects.
  • Expect the unexpected: Even if you are following these tips, the other drivers around you might not. You might encounter sudden braking, swerving or unsignalled lane changes.

If you were injured in a vehicle collision, it is wise to discuss your case with an experienced legal professional. Based on the factors involved, you might be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your injuries, lost wages and property damage.