Road construction is a common sight during daily commutes and roadway travel. Road work is necessary but often causes delays and frustration among drivers.
Beyond the inconvenience, it is also important to recognize that road construction raises the odds of accidents. Understanding the factors contributing to this increased risk is part of promoting road safety.
Reduced lane availability
One of the primary ways road construction heightens accident risks is by reducing the number of available lanes. As construction crews work to enhance or repair roadways, they often close lanes or create narrow pathways. This reduction in lane availability can lead to congestion and an increased likelihood of collisions.
Altered traffic patterns
Road construction often necessitates changes to regular traffic patterns. These changes disrupt the predictability of traffic flow, increasing the chances of accidents as drivers navigate through unfamiliar conditions.
Uneven road surfaces
Construction zones frequently feature temporary asphalt patches, gravel and unpaved stretches. These uneven surfaces pose a hazard to drivers, particularly at higher speeds.
Construction zones often come with signage, barriers and equipment that can obscure visibility. Reduced sightlines make it challenging for drivers to anticipate upcoming obstacles or sudden stops.
Increased stress and impatience
Navigating through road construction requires patience and adaptability. However, the reality is that many drivers experience heightened stress and impatience due to delays and detours. Agitated drivers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as aggressive driving or tailgating, further escalating the probability of accidents in construction zones.
Estimates place the number of work zone crashes at 105,000 for the year 2021. This resulted in over 42,000 injuries and 954 fatalities, illustrating the overwhelming importance of caution when driving in a road construction zone.