Why Texas construction zones can be dangerous for drivers, workers

Work zones are especially dangerous for drivers and workers, as statistics bear out. Rear-end crashes are relatively common.

As of 2014, work zone fatalities were on the rise while highway fatalities as a whole were decreasing. Perhaps most notably, rear-end collisions proved dangerous, accounting for 41 percent of work zone fatalities as opposed to the 16 percent rate for overall fatal crashes. There are several reasons that work zones, also called construction zones, are risky.

1. They are not the norm

Anything abnormal tends to throw drivers off their game. Sometimes, this works to increase safety. For example, traffic calming measures such as curb extensions should cause drivers to slow down, which benefits children playing in the area. Other times, though, changes such as those presented by work zones are confusing. They often lead to last-minute lane changes, drastic acceleration and more. At night, an intoxicated driver may not grasp that a lane change is necessary until it is too late.

Similarly, if a driver is supposed to slow his or her speed to 20 miles per hour but does not because the road seems safe enough, a rude awakening could lurk just around the curve.

2. Workers and equipment are present

Work zones consist of moving traffic. They also consist of men and women who put their lives on the line every day just because their occupations place them so closely to moving vehicles. They wear safety gear in both the nighttime and daytime, but it just takes one inattentive driver or one speeding semi to cause injury or death.

3. They lead to driver stress

Construction zones can cause traffic backups. They might make a morning or afternoon commute that is already miserable even more wretched. Stressed drivers can be impulsive or prone to road rage. At the very least, they are not thinking optimally and could be trying to kill time on their cellphones, not realizing that their vehicles are slowing creeping forward and are poised to hit the car in front of them. Typical driver distractions such as eating, texting and attending to children in the back seat could consume even more attention because of the need to counteract boredom.

4. Drivers want to see what is going on

If drivers are not on their cellphones, they might be paying attention to the work that is going on around them, like they would at an accident scene. This type of distraction, combined with frequent starts and stops, can prove costly, leading to sideswipe collisions, fixed-object collisions and more.

Being injured in a Texas motor vehicle accident may result in lost wages and emotional trauma. An attorney might be able to help in such cases.