Colorado’s population continues to undergo explosive growth, and with an influx of new residents comes an increase in road construction to accommodate them. In other words, if it seems as if road construction exists around every corner, it is because the state’s roadways are constantly in need of expansion and repair, but the work zones used to create and repair infrastructure can, at times, prove highly dangerous.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration notes that work zone crashes are on the rise across Colorado and the nation. So much so, in fact, that the number of crashes that occurred within work zones climbed 43 percent from 2013 to 2015, with more than 96,600 crashes taking place in the nation’s work zones in 2015 alone.
Double the danger
Just what is it about road construction and work zones that makes navigating your way through these areas so dangerous? For starters, road construction itself presents certain risks, as large trucks, heavy machinery and the like can be difficult to see or maneuver around. Additionally, some motorists who anticipate certain traffic patterns may have a hard time adjusting to detours and changes in their standard routes, and this, too, can contribute to work zone crashes.
While certain elements within work zones make driving through them inherently dangerous, other drivers making their way through construction zones are also part of the problem. This is particularly true when other motorists fail to follow the rules of the road. For example, in 2014, 607 fatal work zone crashes occurred across the United States, and alcohol was a factor in a quarter of them. Furthermore, speed had a hand in nearly 30 percent of all fatal work zone crashes that took place in 2014, highlighting the fact that all drivers must exercise extreme care when traveling through work zones.
While you can do your part to enhance safety in work zones by remaining alert and driving carefully, your efforts have limits when others fail to do the same.