Car Accidents in Construction Zone
Serving Chicago, its suburbs and all of Illinois
Construction zones are a necessary fact of life on the roads, especially in a big city like Chicago, where a combination of wear and freeze-thaw cycles in winter result in damage to the roadways that need to be repaired. Unfortunately, construction zones can be a serious danger to you on your daily commute. Negligent contractors, aggressive truckers, and oblivious commuters can all put you at risk for a dangerous car accident.
Negligent Construction Zone Design
When a construction zone is being set up, it has to be designed in a way that gives drivers a reasonable amount of time to merge as necessary. They have to receive adequate warning and instructions, and lane changes must be properly marked. The road must be properly graded and transitioned to avoid increased risk of accidents. Every construction zone is made up of four parts, and each has its own requirements to prevent car accidents:
- Advance warning area: Must be set up far enough in advance that drivers are warned of upcoming construction and related slowing.
- Transition area: Drivers must be given adequate time to move into new lane configuration.
- Activity area: Lanes must remain of constant width and reasonable configuration.
- Termination area: Drivers should be transitioned back to normal traffic flow only onto roads that are in good condition for driving.
If a contractor has designed these zones poorly, they may be held liable for accidents that result.
Truck drivers know they may have to do a little pushing to merge properly in construction zones, but if they are too aggressive, the confined traffic in a construction zone can become a deadly trap resulting in a truck accident. Nearly a quarter (24%) of all fatal accidents in work zones involve large trucks, although large trucks only account for about 4% of vehicles on the road.
Regular drivers may put themselves on auto pilot during their commute. They substitute familiarity with the road for alertness, and when they come upon a construction zone, their distractions such as cell phones, eating, and personal grooming can lead to dangerous car accidents.
Work Zone Penalties
The above statistics show that work zones are more prone than any other areas of roads and highways to auto accidents. This is exactly why traffic rules for work zones are quite strict. Failure to follow the rules often invites hefty fines and penalties. If you violate traffic rules in a work zone for the first time, you may face a fine of at least $375. On the other hand, the second traffic violation in a work zone may result in a minimum fine of $1,000. Crossing the speed limit in a work zone establish grounds for a penalty. If you violate the speed limit for two times in two years, the police officer may suspend your driver’s license for up to 90 days. If you hit a construction worker while driving through a work zone, you may face a fine of $10,000, plus you may be put behind bars for up to 14 years.
Safe Driving in Chicago Work Zones
As a responsible driver, you need to drive at a slower speed through a work zone – whether you notice workers in the work zone or not. You need to understand the nature of traffic in a work zone is different and the lanes are usually narrower in this part of the road. Different types of road accidents may occur in a work zone. However, accidents due to rear-end collisions are more common in work zones. Because the lanes are narrow and the pavements uneven, drivers often need to brake suddenly while driving through a work zone. If a driver is tailgating this may cause a rear-end collision. It is always a good idea to drive slowly, so that you have enough time to bring your car to a complete stop in the event of an emergency.
The Illinois Department of Transportation suggests that drivers be extra careful while driving in a work zone. You never know when a worker or a heavy object comes your way from nowhere. You also need to notice the traffic signs and pavement markings, including flaggers and arrow boards, carefully.
Why Choose Willens & Baez
At Willens & Baez, we are experienced with helping car accident victims in Chicago to get compensation for their injuries. You can see examples of our success on our results page. Founder Matthew L. Willens worked for a large insurance company and understands the tactics insurers use to deny coverage. He can help you make a case that is strong against these tactics.
For more information about how we can help, please contact Willens & Baez in Chicago today for a free initial consultation.