Beware Rear-End Crashes in Work Zones on the Highway
Construction areas on roads and highways are essential for maintaining public infrastructure, but they present dangers for drivers. Work zones can cause traffic congestion, delays, and long lines of cars, which increase the likelihood of rear-end accidents. Every year, over 2,000 work zone accidents occur in Wisconsin.
Drivers can take several precautions to prevent injuries and deaths from rear-end collisions near work zones. Road and highway safety and driver awareness can minimize the likelihood of personal injury and wrongful death.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), rear-end collisions accounted for approximately 20% of fatal work zone accidents in 2020. The percentage of rear-end collisions decreased from 2019 to 2020, but speed-related fatal work zone accidents increased.
Keeping safety in mind while driving near a construction zone is essential to preventing rear-end collisions and severe injuries for yourself and others. Drivers must ensure they slow down and pay attention to construction signs, flashing lights, and barriers.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recommends staying at least 2 seconds behind the car ahead during the day and 3 seconds at night. This leaves you enough time to brake safely and watch for unforeseen actions like cars cutting in front of you. Staying focused on the road can also help minimize distractions. Put your cell phone on silent and avoiding eating or drinking while driving.
According to a study by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, cars in work zones with higher speed limits maintain shorter, and more dangerous, gaps between vehicles than those in work zones with lower speed limits. This shows that traveling at faster speeds in work zones can increase the likelihood of rear-end collisions.
The FHWA recommends drivers check their state agencies, such as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s 511 Construction Projects site, to look up construction zones near you and use alternative routes.
Injuries from rear-end collisions can range from mild pain to injuries that require emergency surgery. Injuries can include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when your neck suddenly moves forward, backward, or side to side. The severity of whiplash may vary, with extreme cases requiring neck braces, physical therapy, and spinal surgery.
- Back injuries: The force of being rear-ended can cause compression in the spine, leading to back pain. If the spinal injury is severe, it can lead to partial or total paralysis in the upper and lower extremities. Paralysis can require the lifelong use of mobility devices like wheelchairs, physical therapy, medications, and surgery.
- Head and brain injuries: During a rear-end accident, blunt force trauma to the head can cause a concussion or a loss of consciousness. A broken nose or cheekbone may require emergency surgery if your face strikes the steering wheel or dashboard.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can also result from blunt force head trauma. Mild TBIs may lessen over a few weeks to months. However, severe TBIs need immediate medical intervention, such as surgery and medications, to reduce brain damage.
Construction companies are expected to make work zones safe for their workers and drivers. However, all drivers must also drive safely in work zones, including maintaining a safe following distance between other cars.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work zone-related accident, liability may lie with the construction company or another driver traveling through the work zone. The actions of another driver may have caused the accident. For instance, the driver behind you may have failed to slow down and rear-ended your vehicle in a work zone.
However, the construction company may have posted inaccurate speed limits for cars to drive safely. It’s also possible that the construction company placed inadequate warning signs around the work zone, forcing drivers to make sudden moves to maneuver through traffic, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision.
When a construction company fails to maintain road safety for drivers, they may be liable for any incurred damages. A Green Bay rear-end collision lawyer can help you determine liability by investigating the accident and reviewing the evidence, such as accident photos and police reports. Your lawyer can also assess the total amount of damages you can receive for your injuries and vehicle damage.
Brian Hodgkins Lawyers can help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries if you have been in a rear-end crash at a work zone. We will provide you with insights into your legal options based on the facts of your case.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your accident and move toward gaining compensation to rebuild your life.