Midwesterners know there are really three seasons: almost winter, winter, and construction. Anyone who regularly travels Michigan highways, however, is fully aware that construction is an issue year-round. While construction is essential for proper road maintenance, it can lead to serious auto accidents when mixed with erratic or unsafe driving behaviors. According to The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), just under 5,000 construction zone crashes occurred in 2016. Those resulted in 75 serious injuries and 17 fatalities that could have been avoided. Fortunately, there are some simple tips to avoid a Michigan road construction accident.
Plan Ahead and Prepare Accordingly
In this day of mobile and technological living, there’s no reason to be surprised by local construction hotspots. But it’s also important to plan for the unexpected, especially on the highways and busier roadways. Check MDOT for the most up-to-date road construction information and use a map app or Siri for detours or workaround solutions. But always do so prior to getting behind the wheel.
Speed limits change depending on road and neighborhood conditions. In Michigan, construction zones have a default speed limit of 45 mph. However, that limit can change at any time. Signs should be posted at regular intervals to alert of any speed changes, so be sure to pay attention to those as well as any other warning or notice signs. It’s best to drive defensively in construction zones, so slow down and avoid expensive fines or other unnecessary consequences.
Traffic slows down and often becomes congested or “bottlenecks” in construction zones. This is not the time to tailgate another driver out of frustration. Sudden stops, long lulls, and rude merges are common occurrences. Keep your cool and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. You’ll get to your destination a lot quicker and likely without needing to call your Michigan personal injury attorney that way.
Distracted driving is one of the main causes of auto accidents, but it isn’t all about cell phones and mobile devices. Distracted driving is actually a blanket term involving a wide range of activities that can take the driver’s focus off the road at any given time. But taking your eyes off the road for even five seconds at a speed of 55 mph equates to driving blind across the length of an entire football field. While a text takes five seconds, activities such as adjusting mirrors or seats, putting items away, reaching for or retrieving items, applying makeup, and watching or engaging with passengers can extend the distracted driving time. So leave the multitasking for later and keep your eyes on the road.
Any type of road rage is dangerous, but it can be a deadly decision in a construction zone. As traffic bottlenecks, wait times and tempers expand. But anger and aggression are personal decisions that won’t help you move any quicker. They can, however, lead to risky behaviors that can put yourself and others in danger. Avoid the temptation and need to call your Michigan personal injury attorney by keeping your cool in a construction zone. Your loved ones will thank you.