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How often are work zones a factor in car accidents?

Road construction is an unavoidable part of life for anyone who regularly travels Missouri’s many roadways, and with new communities and thoroughfares popping up all the time, there is little chance of avoiding them entirely. Navigating your way through these work zones presents certain risks, however, and work zones are often a factor in auto accidents, injuries and fatalities.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reports that accidents in work zones caused 2 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide in 2014, with 669 people losing their lives that year in construction zone crashes. The number of work zone-related fatalities is on the rise, too, with the number of people who died in work zone fatalities rising 43 percent between 2013 and 2015.

Just what is it about work zones that makes them so dangerous? Part of the problem is likely due to the fact that many drivers struggle to adjust to unexpected changes in traffic patterns or traffic flow. Other elements, too, such as large signage, equipment and trucks, can make it difficult for motorists to see clearly in construction zones.

Additionally, hazards that present dangers on all roadways, such as other drivers who speed or drink and drive, can prove especially dangerous in work zones, where drivers may need to stop suddenly, change directions or follow irregular or confusing traffic patterns. Speeding, for example, can lead to rear-end collisions in work zones, with rear-end crashes accounting for more than 40 percent of all fatal work zone crashes that occurred nationally in 2013.

This information about the dangers of driving through work zones is educational in nature and is not a replacement for legal advice.

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