In an effort to help protect Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) workers and others who have been hired to complete a roadway job, MDOT is asking that motorists drive with caution around work zone areas, especially when they see crews present. MDOT’s Executive Director, Melinda McGrath, sent out a message on Twitter a few weeks back acknowledging that six MDOT workers had been hit while working on state highways in only a two-day timespan, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Although work zones are especially dangerous for the vulnerable workers who are out on foot trying to complete the job they were sent out to do, they can also pose as a threat to motorists as well. According to the MDOT, in the past five years, work zone crashes have caused more than 4,400 deaths of which 85% were drivers and passengers. In that same timeframe, nearly 200,000 people suffered injuries in a work zone-related accident.
Tips for Preventing a Work-Zone Related Accident
Based on the statistics above, MDOT has shared some tips they recommend drivers implement to reduce the chances of an accident occurring in a work zone. Some of these tips include:
- Stay alert and minimize distractions. Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of car wrecks today. Rather than worry about answering a call or trying to multitask while driving, it is best that you “dedicate your full attention to the roadway.” It is also important that you avoid changing the radio station, eat while driving, or engage in any other type of behavior that is going to “remove your concentration from the road.”
- Pay attention to the road. The MDOT says you should:
- Listen to the signs. If workers are guiding traffic with signs, follow their directions. If you see signs posted that indicate the speed limit is reduced, be sure you lower your speed to comply with the law.
- Keep an eye out for brake lights on the vehicles traveling ahead of you.
- Remain cognizant of the flow of traffic around you and be prepared to stop.
- Keep your headlights on when necessary.
- Never tailgate. Be sure to always keep a safe following distance between you and the car in front of you. When approaching a work zone, it is common for traffic to come to an abrupt stop. That means if you are driving too closely, you reduce your chances of stopping which could result in a rear-end collision.
- Expect the unexpected in a work zone. You should be prepared for the following:
- Workers, work vehicles, or equipment entering your lane without any sort of warning.
- Other vehicles may slow down or change lanes unexpectedly if they are attempting to get around the work zone traffic.
- Flaggers directing traffic and providing you with instructions on which lane you should travel in given there is roadwork occurring.
- Be patient. “Patience is a virtue” and it can save your life and others when traveling through work zones. While it is understandable that a buildup of traffic or a detour can be frustrating, especially when you are trying to get to work, it isn’t worth allowing yourself to get upset over.
For more work zone safety tips, be sure to visit MDOT’s website.
As much emphasis as the MDOT places on work zone safety, unfortunately, not all accidents can be prevented. And if you are a worker in Jackson, MS who was injured in an accident while working on a roadway project, consider contacting the MS accident lawyers at the Heilman Law Group, PA located in Jackson. At our office, we take the time to listen to our clients’ needs and concerns and we work to address them. We understand how difficult life can become after suffering an injury which is why we want to help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.
To schedule a consultation where we can explain in detail how we may be able to help you get through this tough time, give us a call at 601-914-1025.
The Heilman Law Group, PA is located at:
42661 I-55 North, Suite 106
Jackson, MS 39211