No doubt if you live in Jacksonville, you have encountered numerous roads under construction. As the city’s roads try to keep pace with Jacksonville’s expanding population, it is par for the course to experience construction along major roadways, including Interstate 95, Interstate 295, and Interstate 10.
While the improvements will ultimately mean better traffic flows and less congestion, road construction can present challenges for drivers, especially when workers are present. Road construction signs, barricades and cones can be tricky to maneuver. Sudden traffic stops, lane closures, and the presence of large machinery can distract even the safest drivers, leading to car accidents in Jacksonville.
As drivers, it is our responsibility to be cautious and pay extra attention when approaching road construction. In fact, it is the law: Florida Statute 316.079 says drivers must yield to highway construction workers. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, along with the Florida Highway Patrol, has upped their vigilance to ticket drivers who disregard road construction zone laws. Speeding fines are often doubled when workers are present. Construction companies and contractors are also required to follow laws to make the construction site as safe as possible.
Despite these efforts, many drivers speed through construction areas, putting road workers and other drivers at risk. The National Safety Council reports that 100 road construction workers are killed on the job each year in the United States and that number is predicted to rise. According to the Council, Florida ranks second in car accident related fatalities at road construction sites. A few years ago in Jacksonville, a driver in an SUV hit and killed a construction worker on J. Turner Butler Boulevard. The worker was killed while he was painting stripes on the road, even though he was wearing a bright orange vest and road construction signs were present.
Here is what you can do to avoid car accidents when traveling through road construction:
– Slow down and increase your following distance.
– Avoid all distractions such as cell phone use, programming navigational devices or even changing the radio station.
– Stay aware of changing conditions, especially in areas where workers are present for long periods of time. The construction is likely to present different challenges – such as lane closures and rerouting — throughout the project.
– If the construction requires vehicles to merge, do so as soon as you can to avoid bottlenecks.
– Travel in the furthest lane possible away from the construction to avoid workers and equipment.
– Do not assume that workers are not present if you do not see them immediately. Use extreme caution, especially at night, until you see a sign that says “End Road Work.”
– If possible, avoid road construction by taking an alternate route. If you must travel through road construction, expect delays, and give yourself more time to reach your destination.
For a complete list of road construction projects in Jacksonville, visit the North Florida Roads website. The site allows you to search by road, city or county.
Written by Elizabeth Allen
If you or a family member has been injured in a road construction car accident, give our attorneys in Jacksonville a call. There is no cost for a consultation and our attorneys are available to meet at a location convenient to you.