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Highway Construction Causes More Than Just Headaches

81southFinally! Drivers rejoice as construction projects come to a close.

Pennsylvania drivers are no strangers to road construction.  Lately, it seems there are orange cones and flashing signs indicating single-lane traffic on every major roadway.  In our home region of Northeast PA, a $32 million project that’s been three years in the works is finally coming to a close, according to WNEP.   The news comes as music to the ears of the thousands of drivers who use this route daily and have battled maddening traffic jams, lane closures, ramp closures, and a labyrinth of cones and barrels for the last three years. The project, aimed at repairing bridges, widening lanes, and improving safety, is finally winding down, and the major impact on drivers is said to be over.

On the other side of the state, Pittsburgh drivers are enjoying the end of a five-year, $180 million project on Route 28.

While these major jobs are wrapping up, there is, of course, always more work to be done.  So, it is important that drivers in PA and across the country take great care when entering a work zone. Road and highway construction and maintenance projects improve our roads, but they also create an environment where accidents are more likely to occur.

Road work poses dangers for both drivers and workers. There are hundreds of fatalities and tens of thousands of injuries that occur in road work zones each year in the United States. From 2003-2012, Pennsylvania ranked among the top 5 states with the most worksite deaths.  For motorists, roadway construction often means unexpected shifts in traffic, lanes, and speed limits.  This is where less attentive drivers get into trouble. Traffic jams and delays inspire aggressive driving and road rage, both of which are dangerous.

Last week, a Minnesota woman was killed while driving in a work zone; her death was attributed in part to construction equipment that was too close to the flow of traffic.

So, here are some things to be aware of when driving in a work zone:

  1. Turn on your headlights. In PA, this is a state law, as it says on the signs that indicate a work zone. Safety in a work zone begins with increasing visibility for both drivers and workers.
  2. Pay attention. Keep an eye out for workers, signs indicating reduced speed or closed lanes ahead, and avoid distraction when in a work zone; sitting in slow traffic is not a good place to check your email or Facebook.  And, watch for sudden stops. This is especially true when traveling in an unfamiliar area.  People who may be traveling out of town or out of state to visit relatives for the upcoming holiday should plan ahead for possible delays.
  3. Slow down. It is always important to drive at a safe speed, but it is especially critical in work areas where lanes may be narrow and speed limits can decrease suddenly.
  4. Maintain a safe distance between vehicles. Work zones often require drivers to stop or slow down unexpectedly, so it’s important to maintain enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you in order to do so safely.

If you’ve been in an accident involving road construction, either as a worker or as a motorist, the attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help. We are particularly well-suited to help because we specialize in car, truck, and work-related injury cases.  To arrange a free evaluation of your case, call 855-866-5529.

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