As a motorist, you are used to reacting to colors: red for stop, yellow for caution and green for go. Orange is another color that warrants special attention because it is a work zone alert. If you are accustomed to driving around your local area, you probably know where many construction zones are located, but that will probably not be the case when you are traveling. You will need to adjust your driving not only because of the work zone ahead, but also in anticipation of the “no-zone” areas that surround any large trucks with which you may be sharing the road.
The no-zone areas explained
Drivers of large trucks usually take extra precautions when they pass through a work zone, and yet these vehicles are involved in nearly 30 percent of all work-zone crashes. Part of the problem is that big rig drivers must cope with blind spots, or “no-zone” areas, which are found on the front, rear and sides of their trucks. For example, if you try to pass a slow-moving 18-wheeler as the lanes narrow, the trucker may be unaware of you because for two or three seconds your car will not visible in the side view mirror. Furthermore, your car may not be seen by the driver if you are traveling too close to the rear of the truck.
Leave plenty of room
You should never tailgate, but this is an especially dangerous driving behavior when you are going through a work zone. A good rule is to leave at least two seconds of stopping distance between your car and the car ahead. If you are behind a large truck, remember that because of its size and weight, its stopping distance is nearly 50 percent greater than what is required for a car.
Prepare for work zone hazards
When you see the first orange sign, slow down. Most are diamond-shaped, some are rectangular. Pay attention, because there could be narrow lanes, loose gravel or uneven pavement up ahead and heavy equipment nearby. Look for workers who might be close to the highway and be alert for trucks entering or leaving the construction site. Always be prepared for the possibility of sudden stopping. Give large trucks plenty of space; they need more room to maneuver.
The unexpected may happen
Traffic is often a problem in the vicinity of a work zone. Many work trucks are around, congestion is usually heavy and unexpected events are always a possibility, including vehicle crashes. Sometimes these are fender benders, but often they are much more serious. If you have found yourself in such an accident and have sustained injuries as a result, you will likely have concerns about medical, insurance and employment issues, among others. Remember you are not alone; an attorney experienced with work zone accident cases understands what you are going through and is standing by to help.