Not only do spring and summer mean warmer temperatures, but they also mean road construction. In fact, there are already a number of major road construction projects under way on Chicago area highways and roadways, including portions of I-90 on the Jane Adams Expressway and the Kennedy Expressway.
Unfortunately, road construction means traffic hassles and slower drive times, as well as an increase in the number of auto accidents. On average, there are thousands of work zone motor vehicle crashes in Illinois every year. In fact, according to data provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), there were 4,863 reported traffic collisions in Illinois construction zones in 2011, which injured 1,525 persons and killed 24 people. IDOT reports that, in 2012, 19 people died in road work zones.
In order to minimize the risk of traffic accidents, motorists should consider the following safety tips when driving through road construction zones:
- Slow down when approaching the road construction work zone.
- Follow posted speed limits. In some situations, you may need to drive slower than the work zone speed limit if weather conditions and traffic patterns dictate. It is important to follow posted work zone speed limits even if there are no construction workers as most construction zone fatalities and injuries involve drivers and/or passengers.
- Allow plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. You should also keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment, and workers.
- Don’t pass on the median. Doing so can put construction workers and other motorists in danger, and result in a hefty fine.
- Avoid cell phone use and other forms of distracted driving. Texting and driving under any circumstances is incredibly dangerous. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), five seconds is the average time that a driver takes his or her eyes are off the road while texting, which is enough time to cover the length of a football field when traveling at 55mph. Even the simple act of reaching for the phone can be dangerous. In fact, the NHTSA says that reaching for a phone, dialing, texting and other uses of portable devices increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times. The dangers of distracted driving are exacerbated in construction zones due to the increased traffic, smaller lanes, and additional obstacles.
- Merge in a timely manner. Construction zones often involve lane closures and late lane merging can result in traffic accidents.
- Avoid unnecessary lane changes.
Contact an Illinois Auto Accident Lawyer
The Chicago auto accident lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are committed to educating motorists on ways to keep Illinois roadways safer and to holding negligent drivers responsible for any injuries or damages that they cause as a result of their misconduct. We are dedicated to getting full and fair financial recovery for our clients, and are well-versed at handling complex legal issues, such as comparative negligence and distracted driving. We also represent injured construction workers in workers’ compensation claims and third-party lawsuits.
If you were injured in a construction zone auto accident, contact our office at (800) 442-6546 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago auto accident lawyers.
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