What Happens If You Drive Through A Work Zone?

On our nation’s roads, there are thousands of construction and maintenance projects taking place each year. At these sites, there are always numerous workers as well as signage and other equipment to make drivers aware the area is a work zone. However, many people fail to take heed of these precautions. As a result, thousands of people are injured and hundreds killed each year in work zone accidents. If you wonder what may happen if you drive through a work zone, here is what you should remember.

What is a Work Zone?

To be considered an actual work zone, an area must contain not only workers but also signs that warn drivers that a work zone has been established and is active as they drive through the area. In most cases, signs will warn drivers to slow down to a speed under the posted speed limit.

Speeding and Distracted Driving

When accidents take place in work zones, it is usually due to drivers either failing to obey speed limits or driving while distracted. Whether it is talking or texting on your cellphone, looking away from the road to change the radio station, or glancing at your children in the back seat, it only takes a split second for an accident to occur. 

Avoiding Work Zone Equipment

Remember, when you are driving 55 mph, you will drive by work zone equipment. Work zone equipment will be behind cones but if they are moving equipment or moving cones, you need to slow down to a safe speed where you can change direction or stop quickly. Oftentimes, there will be people in jackets with signs that tell you when to drive slow and when you need to stop. If you drive through the work zone when it says stop, you are likely to either hit a worker, run into equipment or find yourself stopped in front of oncoming traffic.

Fines Can Double

If you drive through a work zone and are caught by police for speeding or driving while distracted due to your cellphone, you will face steep fines. In many states, these fines will be double the usual amount, since states have cracked down in recent years to decrease work zone accidents. Thus, if a normal fine would have been $500, you can expect to pay $1,000 as well as court costs.

Potential Lawsuits

Should you drive through a work zone and cause an accident, you may face large fines and the potential for a personal injury lawsuit brought against you by victims. If this happens, you could find yourself facing financial ruin, especially if a jury finds in the victim’s favor and awards them millions of dollars in damages.

Rather than face severe legal consequences, it will be much better if you obey warning signs and choose to put away your cellphone, slow down, and be very aware of your surroundings as you drive through a work zone.