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How often is construction a factor in car crashes?

When it comes to life’s certainties, road construction ranks right up there with death and taxes. As populations continue to grow and the nation’s roads undergo more and more use, work zones will likely become increasingly common on the nation’s roadways.

Regrettably, however, car crashes are also becoming increasingly common in work zones, with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reporting that the number of work zone crashes taking place in the country rose 43 percent between 2013 and 2015. So, what is it about work zones that make them so dangerous, and what can you to reduce your risk of a construction zone car crash?

Work zone hazards

The dangers you face when making your way through road construction zones are two-fold. First, you face obvious hazards presented by the road construction, itself, which might include large machinery that blocks your view, unclear or unfamiliar detours or traffic patterns, or potholes, among related hazards.

While the road construction, itself, can prove dangerous for you, so, too, can other drivers navigating their way through construction zones. This is especially true if those other drivers are already engaging in dangerous behind-the-wheel behaviors, such as drinking or speeding. In fact, of the 607 2014 work zone crashes that resulted in at least one death, speed was a factor in 28 percent of them, while alcohol had a hand in a quarter of 2014’s fatal work zone crashes.

Rear-end collision risks

Certain types of car crashes are also more common in construction zones than others. Rear-end collisions, for example, are particularly problematic, and they often result when motorists fail to recognize that other drivers have stopped suddenly ahead of them due to ongoing construction. In 2013, for example, more than 40 percent of all fatal work zone crashes involved rear-end collisions.

Work zones are undeniably dangerous, so be sure to exercise extreme care when making your way through them. There is only so much you can do, however, when other motorists fail to do the same.

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