One of the downsides of living here in the fastest growing area in the U. S. is the huge increase in traffic — and car crashes — on our roads. An article in today’s Star Telegram asks if DFW is going to be the next LA?
A jaw-dropping 150,000 people moved to our area just last year. When I first moved to Dallas in the mid 70’s to attend SMU Law School, that number was the entire population of Arlington.
Now consider that we have 80,000 auto collisions in Dallas and Tarrant Counties each year.
That puts DFW squarely in the urban planning nightmare: more people = more highways = more collisions.
This article shows that even after $1.6 billion was just spent widening the notoriously dangerous Interstate 35 north of downtown Fort Worth, there are still serious problems there.
I resolved a tragic collision case at its new interchange with Loop 820 last year after a man died after crashing into this piece of road construction equipment. It had darted across the interstate in front of his small car in the middle of the night, causing his death.
Most of us drivers dislike seeing the bright orange “work zone ahead” signs, especially during our morning or afternoon commutes. And while these signs may indicate upcoming traffic jams, detours, and other inconveniences, they are there for our safety and for the protection of the people at work.
When you see a road work sign, remember to be extra vigilant of your surroundings and be prepared for sudden stops, turns, debris, workers, and construction equipment.
There were over 25,000 automobile wrecks in work zones last year in Texas according to the Texas Department of Transportation, up 30% over the past few years.
Here is a good link that can show you how to avoid these congested areas and get to where you are driving safely.
Driving safely through a work zone
Road work zones are hazardous for motorists and workers alike, especially when they take place on highways and busy roads. To ensure you navigate safely through the next road work zone you encounter, consider these tips from the Texas Department of Transportation:
- Reduce speed and obey work zone speed limits: One of the major causes of work zone accidents is speeding. Remember, work zone signs mean machinery, equipment, and workers on the side of the road, so reduce your speed and be wary. Also keep in mind that all traffic fines are doubled when workers are present in a work zone.
- Pay attention: An orange work zone sign should signal to you that it’s time to be hypersensitive about your surroundings. After all, cranes, backhoes, trucks, barrels, dividers, cones, and other equipment may be in use nearby.
- Change lanes: If you are driving on a multi-lane highway in Texas, and there is construction work ahead on the roadside, safely change lanes before approaching the work zone to minimize any danger to nearby workers.
- Avoid tailgating: It is never a good idea to tailgate. However if there is one time you should definitely not engage in this behavior, it’s when you are driving through a work zone. These areas are dangerous, can be congested with workers and construction materials, and are visually distracting.
- Stay alert and minimize distractions: When approaching a work zone in Texas, put away your cell phone. Even a slight swerve can cause you to collide with a divider, traffic cone, barrel, vehicle, or worker.
- Obey road crew flaggers: If you see a road crew waving you on or flagging you in a certain direction, obey the worker’s instructions but proceed cautiously.
- Plan ahead: If you know there is ongoing road work in your area, plan ahead. This might mean leaving a few minutes early in the morning or on your way home in the afternoon.
Flashing yellow lights and orange traffic signs mean more than just “road work ahead.” They indicate to drivers that they should expect the unexpected and be extra careful on the road.
If you are involved in a car accident because of a negligent driver, a good personal injury lawyer can help you recover your damages.
At Berenson Injury Law, we have nearly four decades of experience fighting for auto accident victims throughout Texas.
Danger ahead: Danger ahead on North Texas highways