An experienced car accident lawyer reveals what drivers in Tampa need to know
From routine maintenance on bridges to the installation of wrong-way detection devices on interstate ramps, the Florida Department of Transportation has a long list of road construction projects that will require drivers in Hillsborough County to travel through work zones.
Road construction is common in Tampa and throughout Florida, but work zones can present unexpected scenarios to motorists, workers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
There's no question that repairing and upgrading our road infrastructure is important, but due to their very nature, work zones have conditions that are ripe for bad car accidents to occur.
Hazards often appear suddenly and without warning, which means road users need to exercise even more caution when approaching or going through a road construction site to avoid causing a crash that results in severe injury or death.
Work zone safety tips for drivers
According to the most recent crash statistics from the Federal Highway Administration, 842 people died in work zone crashes in 2019. That figure represents an 11% increase over the fatalities that occurred in 2018, which puts into focus just how important it is to put safety first when you're approaching or traveling through a work zone.
Here are some tips you can follow to stay safe:
Be ready for anything
Traffic patterns frequently change around road construction zones, so you should expect the unexpected. Certain lanes may be closed or narrowed, there may be raised structures and other obstacles to maneuver around (e.g., cones, barrels, building materials, machinery, tools, debris, road workers), and motorists should be ready to adjust their driving accordingly. Always plan ahead and give yourself enough time to reach your destination. If you want to avoid going through a work zone, plan ahead and look at the latest traffic information so you can alter your route.
Those bright orange signs, cones, and barrels are there to help give drivers a warning that they are approaching a work zone and should proceed with caution. That means keeping your full attention on the road and not letting distractions (e.g., texting, eating, chatting on the phone or with passengers, self-grooming, etc.) steal your focus away from your driving.
Follow the speed limit
Speeding is one of the most frequent causes of motor vehicle accidents, and that includes crashes that happen in work zones. Keep in mind that if you're going 60 mph and you notice a sign that says you're 1,500 feet away from a work zone, it only takes 17 seconds to get there. As you're approaching a work zone, make sure you're giving yourself enough room to slow down and always be prepared to stop so that you don't cause a rear-end collision with another driver. From 2018 to 2019 there was a 40% increase in the number of fatal work zone crashes caused by speeding.
Don't follow too closely
Keep a safe following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you so you have enough time to slow down or come to stop. Rear-end accidents were responsible for about one-fourth of all fatal work zone crashes in 2019, and most of those crashes occurred as a result of following too closely or speeding.
Be calm and try to stay patient
No one wants to get stuck in a traffic jam because of road work, but crew members and workers are just trying to do their jobs to improve the transportation system that motorists in Florida use every single day. Always obey traffic signs, signals, flaggers, and traffic cops when approaching or traveling through a work zone. Be respectful to your fellow motorists, all road workers, and anyone else you encounter. The less stressed you are, the less likely you'll engage in reckless driving habits that put you and everyone else on the road in danger.
After a crash, let an attorney take control of your claim
If you were badly injured or a loved one died in a work zone crash in Tampa, you have recourse under Florida law to pursue compensation for your damages. The trouble is auto insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. Insurance companies are a business, and as a business, they have a financial incentive to pay you the lowest amount of money possible. In some cases, they may straight-up deny your claim and offer you nothing at all.
At Armando Personal Injury Law, we know how insurance companies can manipulate you into accepting a "lowball" settlement offer or giving up on your claim altogether and walking away with nothing.
Don't let an insurance adjuster play games with your health and finances. Let our law firm take care of everything and fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
See what an experienced car accident attorney in Tampa can do for you when you're injured. Contact us right now to set up your free consultation.