Staying safe in Minnesota’s road construction zones
Follow these tips to help keep workers and motorists safe
There’s an old joke in Minnesota that we only have two seasons: winter and road construction. But while there’s plenty of information out there about how to stay safe when the roads turn icy, we spend much less time talking about how to protect ourselves and others when we encounter those ever-present orange cones and “road closure” signs.
It’s time this changed. Road construction zones harbor special hazards, both for workers and for drivers. Read on to learn strategies you can use to keep everyone safe, and what to do if you’re involved in a construction-zone accident.
Slow down; stay alert
Slowing down is the number one thing you can do to promote safety in construction zones. Moving at a slower rate – even below the posted speed limit when conditions warrant – can help you avoid obstacles and navigate narrow lanes. It also provides peace of mind for workers who operate in close proximity to traffic. Slowing down also protects your pocketbook, since fines can double in work zones.
It is also a good idea to stay alert (so put down that phone) and give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. Even though you might be aware of a lane closure or detour, others probably aren’t. In their confusion, they might dart out from their lane or turn without warning to try and stay on route. While you can’t stop other drivers from making bad decisions, being aware of your surroundings can help you react in a way that minimizes the risk of an accident.
If an accident happens
If you get in a work-zone accident, the most important thing is to make sure everyone is safe. If you’re able to, try to move the vehicles out of the construction zone so that others aren’t put at risk. Once you’re in a safe place, exchange insurance information and call the police to make a report. If someone is seriously injured call 911 right away. Try to document the scene (smartphone cameras are great for this), including cones, barriers and traffic signs. This information could be useful later when determining fault.
As with any accident, go to the doctor right away if you think you might be injured. Keep going back until you’ve fully recovered.
If you injuries get worse, or the insurance company starts treating you unfairly, it’s in your best interest to get help from a personal injury attorney. If the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for losses like medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Even if the accident was your fault, your insurance company is still supposed to pay your medical bills.
A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and what options you have for taking action. Accident victims in the Twin Cities area can call the law office of Paige J. Donnelly, Ltd. for a free initial consultation.