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Road construction may seem impossible to avoid when traveling across Ohio, but it may serve you well to find alternative routes when possible. The number of car crashes occurring in the state’s work zones reached its highest level in history in 2019, indicating that communities must do more to protect their citizens in these areas.

According to 19 News, Ohio saw 6,574 car wrecks take place in its construction zones in 2019, which resulted in 1,121 injuries and 16 fatalities. What is it about navigating construction areas that make doing so particularly hazardous?

Many risks

Work areas often lead to unfamiliar traffic patterns or detours, and this may contribute to the rising number of construction zone crashes in the state. Additionally, many work areas have large trucks or equipment present that may block your views. This may also increase crash risks.

Negligence on the part of other drivers is also a common factor in these crashes. The majority of Ohio’s work zone car wrecks involve drivers rear-ending one another. Many also result from motorists speeding or following too close to other drivers.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving, which refers to any type of driving where your attention is not on the task at hand, is also common across Ohio. Drivers who use cellphones or otherwise divert their attention present more hazards in construction zones, because they may be less likely to recognize when they need to slow down or stop to avoid other drivers.

In 2019, the state saw 13,495 crashes result from distracted motorists. Yet, it is unclear exactly how many of those wrecks also took place in work zones.

When you encounter road construction, exercise extreme vigilance. Slow down, stay aware of your surroundings and give road crews adequate space to work. It may also benefit you to tap your brakes when slowing down in a work area to make other drivers more aware of your presence.