Sadly, hundreds of workers, drivers, and bystanders are critically injured and killed in Texas highway construction zone accidents every year. In 2020, construction zone crashes and fatalities climbed during the pandemic.
Texas has been ranked as the state with the highest number of construction zone vehicle accident deaths in the country. And, both drivers and those working in construction zones are entitled to certain rights and protections when they find themselves injured in highway construction zone accidents. When you or a loved one suffers a car accident injury, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages. Depending on your role at the time of the incident, a knowledgeable Texas personal injury lawyer can help you determine what party or parties were negligent and help you pursue action against the liable party or parties for your losses.
Reasons Highway Construction Zones are Dangerous for Drivers
- Construction zones are unexpected: Anything drivers don’t expect to be on a roadway they regularly take will throw them off their game. Not only will drivers continue to drive as normal and potentially not see some objects, depending on weather and many other factors, but drivers can also come upon a work zone quickly if the construction is along a highway with a high-speed limit. Also, changes to traffic and directions can be confusing for drivers. These changes can include last-minute lane changes and signage changes to redirect drivers. Improper or confusing signage may require drivers to slow their speed. If signage indicating upcoming roadway construction is not present or is visually obstructed, a motor vehicle accident can occur when drivers speedily come upon a road obstruction or change.
- Many workers and equipment are present: Highway construction often involves workers walking along the highway and around the equipment they work with. A worker can step into traffic suddenly, leaving both the worker and any oncoming drivers without much time to maneuver out of the way of potential harm. This can cause a crash between two or more vehicles, or worse, injury to a highway construction worker, pedestrian, driver, and/or passenger.
- They can cause drivers stress: It’s not uncommon for cars and trucks to be stopped or slowed behind lines of traffic in a highway construction zone, which can cause drivers to stress if they are driving during rush hour or have to be somewhere quickly. This often leads to drivers wanting to switch to the “quicker” lanes without seeing or understanding reduced speed limits and other adjustments designated with signs. Another way this buildup of traffic is dangerous in construction zones is due to cars inching forward slightly and slowly. This enhances the chances of vehicles rear-ending one another.
- Distractions to drivers: Even if drivers are trying to pay attention, they are sometimes nervous about equipment jutting out into their lane and/or confused by flashing lights. Drivers also naturally want to take a look at the highway being constructed. Distractions like these can pull a driver’s attention away from the road ahead, which can cause them to miss important upcoming roadway signs, signals, or lane reductions, among other issues.
Safety Hazards for Drivers in Construction Zones
Construction zones can be dangerous for motorists passing through. Construction areas often require detours, lane closures, and complex signs or barricades to prevent vehicle and roadside accidents. These obstacles and distractions can increase the chance of getting into a car crash, especially a rear-end collision. Drivers should remain vigilant when traveling through a construction area on a highway, and take extra safety precautions such as:
- Slowing down and following work-zone specific speed limits
- Paying attention to the presence of road maintenance workers, tractor-trailers, and heavy equipment
- Planning ahead to avoid roadblocks and delays whenever possible
Unfortunately, highway construction zone accidents can happen to anyone, including the safest drivers and the safest workers. With one of the largest highway construction programs in the country, Texas maintains as many as 2,500 active work zones at any given time. There are at least 20 active highway construction sites along Interstate 35 alone. This puts many Texas motorists and Texas workers at risk of highway construction zone accident injuries.
Injuries and Damages from Highway Construction Zone Accidents
Being injured in a car crash or having any type of accident in or near a highway construction zone creates different, more complex personal injury cases because they involve additional factors and often additional parties. For example, there is usually a construction company or similar type of party involved when these accidents occur.
Some accidents may involve multiple cars, equipment used in highway construction, and even construction workers walking around the site. There are, however, certain types of highway construction zone accidents that are more common than others, including:
- Distracted drivers coming upon machinery too quickly
- Cars coming upon slowed traffic too quickly, causing a collision
- Debris from tall equipment and machinery falling on cars and into drivers’ lanes
- Spillage of chemicals or materials entering drivers’ lanes and causing collisions
Highway Construction Accident Attorney
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a highway construction zone accident in the Houston area, the experienced personal injury team at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. is here to help. Our attorneys have decades of experience in handling serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents. We have helped many victims recover damages for accident-related medical costs, loss of earning capacity, physical pain, mental anguish, and more – we pursue all available damages in each case.
The Krist Law Firm, P.C. is 100 percent committed to supporting our clients in their time of need. We will work our hardest to recover the maximum possible compensation for you and your loved ones. Schedule a free consultation with one of our highway construction zone accident lawyers today by contacting us at (281) 326-9202.