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Car Accident in a Work Zone

We've all been there: you're driving down the highway going 65 miles per hour, and suddenly those dreaded orange signs begin to appear. "Road Work Ahead". If you're lucky, you'll only add an extra 10-20 minutes to your commute. You zoom through the shrunken lanes as quickly as you can, but there are brake lights ahead of you, and you're approaching fast. You slam on your breaks and stop behind the car ahead of you, tapping your fingers on the wheel impatiently and leaning to look around the vehicles ahead, hoping to see an end to the traffic soon.

You glance around and see all of the construction activities around you, not realizing the cars ahead of you have moved up. You scoot up again, not watching construction equipment laying down new asphalt. And then suddenly, you jerk forward as something hits the back of your car. The person behind you was watching the highway construction as well instead of paying attention to the road, and they didn't brake fast enough, rear-ending you. 

While rear-end collisions are the most common car accidents in work zones, this is only one example of a very simple, common work zone accident. Work zone accidents can become very serious, very quickly, especially if you were speeding or using a handheld device. If you've been in a car accident in a work zone in Georgia, Marks Law Group can help. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a Decatur personal injury attorney

What is a Work Zone Crash? 

A work zone crash is any motor vehicle accident that happens just before, throughout, or just after a road construction area, or work zone. Work zone crashes are normally especially dangerous because of the dangers to contraction workers that are working in these construction zones.

In Georgia, road construction sites are announced via orange construction zone signs that read "Road Work Ahead", and normally contain a milage count for how long the construction area goes on for. There may also be Flaggers or pavement markings. They are normally accompanied by signs signaling which lanes may be closed, as well adjusted speed limits for the duration of the work zone. 

Why are There so Many Accidents in Work Zones?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 18,000 crashes happened within work zones in Georgia in 2020, as well as 25 driver and worker fatalities. While adjusted speed limits do help lower the number of accidents in work zones, most accidents that take place in these areas of the road are because of inattention by drivers.

This inattention is often caused by stop-and-go traffic and handheld devices. Inattention can lead to rear-end collisions in the best case, and fatal crashes, some involving pedestrians working for the construction company performing the work, in the worst case.

What to do if you get in a Car Accident in a Work Zone

Many drivers experience tunnel vision when they are driving through slow traffic in a construction zone. It is easy to "zone out" as you stare at the brake lights of the car ahead of you, which can cause lots of problems for you and the drivers around you. 

Learn More: What to do if You are Injured at Work

Are There Increased Penalties if You Have an Accident in a Work Zone? 

Because of the danger to construction workers and other drivers, there are very harsh penalties if you are pulled over in or have an accident in a work zone. While speeding is normally a misdemeanor in Georgia, speeding in a work zone is considered a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, even if there isn't a road worker present at the time, which comes with steeper fees and longer sentences, as well as more points on your license.

You can also be ticketed for failing to yield to a construction vehicle in a work zone, as well as receive reckless driving charges if you cause an accident in a work zone. According to Georgia traffic laws, if you cause an accident with a fatal injury it is likely you be subject to several years of jail time. If the accident causes bodily injuries to others, you will be responsible for all medical expenses for everyone involved. 

What is the Best way to Avoid Crashes in Work Zones? 

While you can't predict other drivers' behavior, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from being involved in a work zone accident. Paying attention to road signs should always be your first step, as the road signs will warn you which lanes might be closing and if the lanes are shifting ahead, and if the speed limit is lowering.

You should also make sure that if lanes are merging, you practice the zipper method, where one car from each lane enters the new lane back and forth, like zipper teeth joining together. Because of the amount of construction equipment on the roads, and construction workers moving around, it's also important that you drive slowly enough that you are aware of what's going on around you. Speeding is the second leading cause of accidents in work zones. 

The most important thing to do is make sure you are still paying attention. While stopped traffic in a work zone might seem like the perfect time to send a text, or check your email, a majority of work zone accidents are caused by drivers experiencing distracted driving. Whatever you need to do can wait until you are safely parked somewhere. Because of quickly changing traffic patterns, speeding drivers, and the traffic volume inside of work zones, you should ensure that your attention is always on the road. 

Related: What is Defense Driving?

We're Here to Help 

If you've been in an accident in a work zone in Decatur you should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may be able to fight back against your charges and fines with an experienced attorney. At Marks Law Group we know what it takes to handle injury claims and can help ensure you recover full compensation. Call us today at 404-939-1485 for a free consultation.

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