What Are the Most Common Risks to Drivers in Construction Zones?

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construction and utility worksite in New York

Construction zones aren’t just dangerous for construction workers; they can be hazardous to drivers in New York as well. Here, we’ll discuss some of the most common threats to driver safety when passing through construction zones.

If you have been in an accident in New York caused by a construction company’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. will work tirelessly to help you investigate your claim, identify the at-fault party, and seek the compensation that you deserve.

Threats to Driver’s Safety in Construction Zones

The New York Department of Transportation has established specific rules and regulations that govern how traffic should be controlled in construction zones along highways and streets, including the area that precedes the construction zone and the area that follows it.

While construction companies have a duty to keep drivers who are passing through their worksites safe from harm, accidents caused by negligence on the part of workers, managers, or contractors still happen frequently. This can lead to dangerous and even deadly car accidents. 

  • Construction Vehicles. Construction vehicles can pose a serious threat to drivers on the road if construction materials that have been loaded on vehicles are not properly tied down and come loose while drivers are passing. Construction machinery tends to be much bigger and bulkier than regular vehicles, and devastating accidents can occur if construction machinery such as cement trucks or front loaders were to strike a passing vehicle.
  • Falling Debris. Construction equipment like jackhammers and excavators often kick up debris including rocks and gravel, which can make passing through a construction zone dangerous for vehicles. If a large enough piece of material strikes a vehicle, or even a person inside that vehicle, it can cause property damage and bodily injury. Construction vehicles like dump trucks can stir up clouds of dust in these zones, which can reduce a driver’s visibility. Inclement weather conditions can make a driver’s ability to see in front of them even worse.
  • Potholes. While the goal of many construction projects is often to fill in potholes and cracks in roadways, construction equipment such as jackhammers can create potholes just as easily. If a vehicle hits a pothole, it can cause damage to the vehicle’s wheels and framework. In serious cases, it can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash, potentially into other vehicles, causing severe injuries.
  • Construction Materials. New York state law dictates that all construction crews must keep construction materials off the road and must clear roadways of construction materials when their work is complete. If construction materials are obstructing the road and a driver strikes these materials, this can cause serious vehicular damage and injury. It can also cause tire blowouts, which can create a “chain reaction” event where multiple vehicles collide with one another. And it can be even more serious for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists do not have the same safety apparatus – such as seat belts, airbags, and the framework of a vehicle – that protect them from injury in a collision. If a motorcycle strikes construction materials or is involved in a multi-vehicle accident because materials were left in the roadway, this can cause severe or even fatal injuries, since motorcyclists are directly impacted by collisions.
  • Inattentive Drivers. Distracted driving is the number one cause of traffic-related accidents in the United States. Distracted driving happens when a driver is not focused on the task of driving because they are distracted by something else. This includes things like texting, talking on the phone, talking to other passengers, eating and drinking, holding pets, and applying makeup. Paying attention in construction zones is especially important because of all the road hazards that exist in these areas. Drivers who are not paying attention in these zones, particularly if visibility is low, can create chain reaction, multi-vehicle accidents if they strike a construction vehicle, construction equipment, or a pothole. Multi-vehicle accidents are serious and can be fatal.

Responsibility of Construction Companies to Drivers

Construction companies are required to take steps to ensure the safety of drivers passing through construction zones. Construction companies must post signage for drivers to follow as they pass through the zone and must put up barriers to make sure cars don’t pass too close to construction vehicles or construction equipment.

If a construction company fails to follow the laws and regulations governing construction zones on roadways, then they may be held liable for any accidents that occur because of their negligence, just as a driver who rear-ended another driver might be held liable for causing an accident because of driver negligence.

Compensation for Construction Zone Accidents

If you have been in a traffic-related accident in a work zone that was caused by another party’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation.

This could include payment for:

  • Medical bills (current and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Damage to your vehicle
  • Damage to other personal property
  • Loss of future earnings (if disabled)
  • Pain, suffering, and mental anguish

Because every car accident case is unique, only an experienced car accident attorney can tell you what your claim is worth. It’s important to note that the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York is three years from the date of injury, so don’t wait until it is too late to contact a lawyer to discuss your case.

Contact a New York and Long Island Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been hurt in a crash in a construction zone, contact Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island for help. Our New York car accident attorneys will be ready to stand up and fight for the full and fair compensation you’re owed. Contact us for a free case evaluation by calling (855) TOP-FIRM or by reaching out to us online today.