For those who live in the greater Rockford area, road construction is a fact. Orange construction barrels are everywhere as construction crews work to improve portions of I-90, I-39, U.S. 20, U.S. 173, and North Second Street.
Road construction can result in narrow lanes, lane shifts, lane merges, speed-limit adjustments, and stop-and-go traffic—all of which can contribute to a dangerous traffic accident. However, when a truck driver makes a careless driving error in an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer in a work zone, the resulting injuries to occupants of the smaller vehicle can be catastrophic.
According to the U.S. Federal Department of Transportation, nearly 30 percent of work zone accidents involve large trucks. Over the past five years, these accidents have taken the lives of more than 1,000 people and injured more than 18,000.
Work Zone Areas Are the Site of Many Truck Accidents
Road construction accidents often occur in one of the following work zone areas:
- Advance warning area – Signs tell drivers how close they are to the work zone and what to expect in terms of lane closures and traffic shifts. Traffic is often stop-and-go in these areas, and large trucks are more likely to rear end a smaller vehicle here.
- Transition area – Drivers are often merging down to one lane in this area. Traffic may stop and start suddenly, increasing the likelihood that a large truck will hit a passenger vehicle from the rear. In addition, a truck may also hit a smaller vehicle at an angle as it merges into a lane.
- Activity area – Once drivers are in the area where the road construction is taking place, they are still at risk of a truck crash—either a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler traveling in the opposite direction or a rear-end accident in stop-and-go traffic.
- Termination area – Although traffic resumes the normal traffic pattern in the termination area, it may still stop and start suddenly, causing a truck to rear end a smaller passenger vehicle.
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