What Every Driver Should Know About Virginia Work Zone Accidents

When we drive through a construction zone, we often see the words of warning: Caution. Slow. Merge. These signs are so commonplace that, while our eyes glance over the familiar letters, we barely notice we’re reading them. Unfortunately, when things are familiar, they’re that much easier to ignore—and that’s why work zones are sites for particularly dangerous Virginia car accidents.

Here are a few facts about Virginia work zone accidents:
  • The driver of the car is four times more likely to be killed in the crash than the worker.
  • More highway workers are killed while working than Virginia firefighters and police combined.
  • Someone is killed in a work zone in the United States every seven hours.
  • The most common accident in a work zone is a rear-end collision, usually caused by a driver not slowing quickly enough for stopped traffic.

The easiest ways to avoid a work zone accident in Virginia are simple common sense: pay attention, give right of way, and be alert for changes. But there are other ways to avoid accidents—some before you even step into your car.
  • Check traffic reports before leaving the house. If an area is under construction, look for alternate routes. Avoiding the highway altogether will not only save lives, but get you to your destination faster.
  • If the weather starts to impair your vision, take the next exit off of the highway. If you can’t see other cars, you’re even less likely to see workers.
  • Large trucks are especially dangerous in work zones. Be sure to leave a large following distance behind a truck—at speeds over 55, semi trucks need at least 300 feet to come to a stop.
  • Be alert for other construction site dangers. Hitting an unprotected worker can be fatal, but hitting a gravel truck or falling into an uneven lane can cause further damage to you.
  • Look for more than just posted signs—look for telltale signs, such as brake lights, increased number of cars, rain clouds, and other potential hazards.
  • Don’t just look: listen. Turn your radio off in the work zone so you can hear warnings of upcoming danger, such as falling concrete, dump truck doors slamming, large vehicle backup beeps, and workers’ voices.

If you’re driving through a work zone without any other cars around, it can be tempting to ignore the signs and continue driving as you normally would. As experienced DC personal injury attorneys, we can tell you that this mistake is all too common—and often ends in injury. To learn more about your Virginia work zone accident, call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 for a free consultation.
Michael J. Shevlin
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Specializing in medical malpractice and serious personal injury cases since 1994.