Spring Road Construction in Wisconsin: Tips for Drivers
Wisconsin is known for its harsh winters. While our state is better prepared than most for snow and ice, inclement weather can wreak havoc on our roads.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that spring and summer are prime road construction seasons. Whether crews are filling potholes, repairing broken asphalt, or catching up on bridge repairs and road construction delayed by winter, workers in hard hats and vests will be out in force over the coming months.
Driving near construction zones isn’t just dangerous for the workers. It can also be dangerous for drivers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to reduce your risks and your chances of causing a crash this spring.
Avoid Construction Zones when Possible
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s website can help you quickly find any current and future road construction projects in your area. The information on this website makes it easy to avoid major road construction projects, reducing your chances of getting stuck in major traffic jams and improving your safety on the road.
Reduce Your Speed
Road construction zones are set up for different reasons, and no two sites are the same. However, all active construction zones have one thing in common: reduced speed limits.
The fines for speeding in active construction zones are much higher than normal for a simple reason: it’s much more dangerous to speed through those areas than anywhere else on the road. As soon as you see a construction zone up ahead, begin slowing down and be prepared to maintain a reduced speed until you see a sign saying the zone has ended.
Distracted driving is dangerous no matter where you are on the road or what’s going on around you. However, there are few places on the road where it’s more dangerous to be distracted than in a construction zone.
Construction zones often have extremely narrow lanes, and drifting even one foot to the left or right due to distraction can result in a crash with a barrier or another vehicle. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your phone in your pocket or purse.
Be on the Lookout for Signs
Signs are how road construction crews communicate with drivers. Most of the time, they’re posted and stationary. But in some cases, they’re held by road construction workers themselves.
When you see a sign in a construction zone, read it carefully. It may be telling you about a reduced speed limit, a lane that’s shifting or ending, an upcoming stop, a detour, a road that’s open only to local traffic, or a road closure.
Increase Your Following Distance
Construction zones aren’t just unpredictable for you; they’re unpredictable for the drivers in front of you, too. Because of that, it’s important to be prepared to suddenly slow down or stop.
One of the best ways to stay safe in a construction zone is to increase the distance between your vehicles and the one in front of you. The more space, the more time you have to react to a slow down and the more distance your brakes have to stop a collision from occurring.
Watch for Workers
Dozens of workers can be present at a single road construction site in Wisconsin. It’s common for road workers to do their jobs just a few feet away from vehicles zooming past them at high speeds. Sometimes, they even need to cross a busy highway or interstate to reach equipment or other work sites.
As a driver, it’s important for you to always be aware of their presence and to never let your guard down. Remember that workers can be anywhere in construction zones, and it’s up to drivers to stay cautious, alert, and focused on avoiding them.
Watch for Construction Vehicles and Equipment
Construction vehicles aren’t just present in work zones to haul equipment and raw materials around—they can also be found entering and exiting those areas, too.
Be ready to encounter dump trucks, front-end loaders, excavators, and more near construction zones. Remember that these vehicles may drive slower than normal traffic, and they may have bigger blind spots than ordinary cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Our Appleton Car Accident Lawyers Can Help After a Construction Zone Crash
Even the safest drivers are still vulnerable in construction zones. That’s because other drivers don’t always make safety a priority, even when roads are more dangerous due to active construction.
If you or someone you love is injured in a crash in a construction zone or anywhere else in Wisconsin, Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers wants to help. Contact us anytime for a free consultation.