How to Navigate Safely Around Road Construction Sites
Road construction sites are common on Missouri streets and highways during the summer. These work zones add to what the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has called the 100 deadliest days on the road.
As you head out for summer fun or drive through the state on a family road trip, knowing how to navigate safely around road construction sites can help keep you, your loved ones, and construction workers safe.
As construction on the state’s infrastructure ramps up for the summer, so do work zone accidents. According to MoDOT, the most work zone fatalities in 2019 and 2020 occurred between April and June. In 2021, July, August, and September had the most fatalities, while 2022 also saw multiple work-zone accident deaths in the summer months.
Multi-state summer road trips increase the odds of encountering construction zones due to the high volume of travelers during the summer, the peak season for road trips. As more people hit the road to visit friends and family, go on vacations, or attend events, there is an increased demand for construction work to improve and maintain the state’s road infrastructure.
Driving through road construction sites can be challenging and potentially hazardous. Road construction sites often have narrow lanes, uneven surfaces, and traffic pattern changes that can be confusing and dangerous for drivers.
When driving in the Show-Me State, follow Missouri traffic laws, including driving defensively, adhering to speed limits, especially in work zones, and not tailgating other cars on the road. You should also familiarize yourself with laws specific to work zones, such as not endangering a highway worker.
To minimize the chances of an accident when entering a construction site, consider the following safety guidelines to protect yourself, your family, and the workers at the site:
- Wear your seatbelt: Wearing seat belts is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself in case of an accident. According to MoDOT, 71% of vehicle occupant deaths in work zones in 2022 were due to not buckling up. Ensure you and all your passengers wear seat belts before starting your journey.
- Focus on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents in work zones, leading to 411 accidents in 2022. Avoid using your phone while driving and stay focused on the road ahead. Pull over to a safe location if you need to use your phone.
- Follow road signs: Work zones often have signs indicating changes in road conditions, detours, and other important information. Follow the signs to ensure a safe and smooth drive through the work zone.
- Stay alert and expect the unexpected: Work zones can be unpredictable, with workers, flaggers, and equipment moving around. Stay alert and watch for any unexpected changes in traffic flow or road conditions.
- Be patient and plan ahead: Remember that work zones are necessary to improve roads and ensure future safety. Be patient and follow the instructions of flaggers and other workers in the area. Use MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map or Gateway Guide to plan your trip to avoid major construction.
- Don’t speed: In 2022, speeding accounted for 13% of Missouri work zone crashes. Excessive speed in a work zone can be dangerous for workers and other drivers. Follow the posted speed limits and adjust your speed for weather conditions like rain or fog.
- Stay sober when driving: Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Impairment of any kind can lead to accidents and injuries, both for you and for others.
- Use defensive, not aggressive driving: Show consideration for other drivers and workers in the work zone. Merge as directed, don’t tailgate, and don’t change lanes unless necessary. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and maintain a steady speed.
If you are involved in a construction site collision in Missouri, speak with our auto accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley. Our legal team can review your case to determine if another driver is responsible for the crash that caused your injuries.
We can help you seek fair compensation for damages you or your passengers suffered in a work zone crash and prove you were driving responsibly at the time of the accident.
Contact our attorneys today to schedule a free case review to learn about the legal options for your case.