Work zones on Georgia highways can be hazardous and frightening places. Often, traffic slows suddenly, lanes become narrower and work vehicles and construction workers may end up in the highway.

When you are in a work zone or a construction zone, you should slow down and be aware of careless drivers who rush through work zones, inattentive drivers who neglect to follow posted signs, people directing traffic or large construction vehicles.

Sadly, workers and other drivers too often suffer deaths and serious injuries in the state’s work zones.

According to Georgia Department of Transportation, 59 employees died in work zone incidents since records began in 1973. Many more drivers and passengers have died.

Nationally, 67,523 crashes occurred in work zones in 2013. These work zone accidents represent 1.2 percent of all motor vehicle wrecks. About a quarter of these accidents resulted in injuries to the occupants of vehicles.

work zones on Georgia highways

Work zones on Georgia highways are dangerous

Georgia DoT regularly warns drivers to pay attention in construction zones. In May 2016, Assistant Highway Maintenance Foreman Curtis Lewis was seriously injured in a work zone on SR 113 in Polk County.

Lewis and co-worker Michael Allan Hatch were standing outside their truck as they patched the road. A vehicle rear-ended their DOT truck and the truck hit Lewis, who was airlifted to Grady Hospital.

In another incident in May 2016, a motorist lost his life when his vehicle struck the back of a Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) truck in a work zone on I-285 at Old National Road in south Fulton County. While the truck assisted a stranded motorist on the shoulder of the road, another vehicle entered the work zone and hit the back of the HERO truck. The highway workers were not hurt but the driver of the vehicle that struck the HERO truck died en route to the hospital.

In another incident, HERO Moses King died from injuries he sustained in August 2015 as he set out road flares on Atlanta’s Downtown Connector.

These accident illustrate how dangerous Georgia’s work zone can often be. Parts of Georgia, in particular around Atlanta are very chaotic and often see construction projects as roads are improved to meet demands.

When you are driving in work zones you should.

Be Vigilant.

Watch out for signs telling motorists to slow down for work zones. Be aware of traffic slowed down ahead of you.

Follow Posted Signs

Drivers must follow all posted directions while traveling within a work zone. Two of the most common safety precautions in work zones include not changing lanes while in a work zone and obeying workers who are tasked with directing traffic within the work zone.

Slow Down

You will receive a higher fine for speeding in a work zone. It’s also dangerous to other drivers and workers.

Keep Your Distance

Tailgating in a work zone can be extremely serious. Keep a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead of you because it may suddenly slow down.

Don’t Drive Distracted

It’s illegal to text and drive in Georgia. You should make sure not to be distracted in a work zone.

If you or a family member has been hurt in a work zone please call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.