Drivers in Virginia and North Carolina may consider construction zones to be a nuisance, but these work zones can be quite dangerous for both workers and vehicle operators. To keep everyone safe, drivers should understand the risks involved and follow certain safety tips.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration outlines some of the facts related to construction zones. Over the span of the last five years, accidents in work zones caused injuries to 200,000 people and death to more than 4,300 people. Drivers were the most likely to die from a crash. Accidents are more common in the summer and fall, and rear-end collisions occur most frequently. Speed zones of 50 mph and higher were the culprit in the majority of fatal crashes.

One of the ways drivers can prepare for construction zones is to pay attention to work-related signs. These may warn vehicle operators of upcoming work, indicate two-way traffic on a typical one-way road, give a heads up of upcoming merger lanes or let drivers know a flagger is ahead.

The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association gives some safety tips for drivers in construction zones. These include:

  • Keep distractions, such as phone use, navigation systems, changing the radio and eating, to a minimum
  • Slow down and follow work speed limits
  • Do not tailgate so there is room for sudden stops
  • Stay alert
  • Keep an eye out for workers
  • Prepare for unexpected situations and movements
  • Watch for flaggers and follow directions
  • Do not change lanes

Any sort of accident in a construction zone can cause major congestion and delays. In minor crash situations, drivers should move out of the way of traffic whenever possible.