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The link between road construction and car wrecks

Any time you travel across Tennessee by car, you run the risk of encountering road construction. For some drivers, navigating through these work zones can prove difficult and even dangerous. Construction zone crashes are steadily increasing across the nation, highlighting a need for increased awareness about their dangers.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Administration, the number of work zone crashes that took place in the United States rose sharply between 2013 and 2015, climbing 42 percent during this short period. Furthermore, 2 percent of all roadway fatalities in the United States took place in work zones in 2014, further spotlighting just how dangerous these areas often are for motorists. So, what types of hazards do you face when working your way through road construction zones, and is there anything you can do to avoid them?

Multiple hazards

In most instances, the hazards you face when driving through road construction are two-fold. First, you have to worry about seeing and navigating around hazards related directly to the construction, which could include unclear signage, irregular traffic patterns, or oversize trucks and machinery, among others.

While these common elements of road construction can make you more likely to crash, other drivers making their way through road construction zones also pose a threat to you and everyone else on the road. Other drivers, like you, may find it difficult to follow, say, unclear detours or traffic patterns. They may not be prepared, should you or someone else stop suddenly ahead of them.

In fact, rear-end collisions are particularly problematic in these areas. While, nationwide, only about 16 percent of all fatal car crashes stem from rear-end collisions, rear-end collisions are to blame for more than 40 percent of all work zone crashes that result in one or more fatalities.

While negligent drivers can place you in danger anywhere, they may be more likely to do so when everyone on the road tries to get through road construction.

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