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What you need to know about accidents in work zones

If you are driving on Georgia's highway system as the weather warms up and road crews begin to gather for a new season of work, then you already know how driving in work zones can present unique challenges. Being vigilant for workers' safety and monitoring for random hazards can all tax your vigilance, but by slowing down and making sure you follow safe driving practices, it can be just as safe as driving under any other conditions.

Part of being safe is knowing about the dangers, and the facts about work zone accidents might surprise you, especially since 85 percent of the people who die in fatal work zone accidents are not workers but drivers and passengers in vehicles passing through. Consider the following information before you hit the road.

Facts and statistics about work zone fatalities

The National Highway Administration has collected information about work zone accidents and fatalities over the past decade. The first and most important thing to understand about the numbers is simple: There was a sharp decline in both work zone accidents and in accidents in general between 2007 and 2010. While there have been slight increases in recent years, that trend toward increased safety is a good thing for drivers and workers alike.

In addition, there are a few other things drivers in work zones should know:

  • 41 percent of fatal crashes in work zones were rear-end collisions, as opposed to just 13 percent of the fatal accidents in general.
  • 65 percent were daytime crashes, when workers would likely have been present.
  • Urban freeway mileage accounts for 43 percent of all fatal accidents even though it is only 5 percent of the country's total highway mileage

Using this information

If you are looking to use this information to improve your safety while driving, the important take-away points are simple:

  • Slowing down and leaving more room betwee n yourself and other vehicles is vital, especially in urban areas.
  • Daytime driving, when there is more traffic and the workers are present, means more distractions, so you need to use extra caution.
  • Rear-end collisions are among the most avoidable accident type, so when all else fails go slow and make sure you have plenty of room ahead of you.

If you get in an accident

If you are injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation that helps you with your medical bills and recovery. Talk to an accident attorney to learn more about your rights.

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