Be Aware: Construction Road Work Increases as Shelter-in-Place
Be Aware: Construction Road Work Increases as Shelter-in-Place Order Continues
One of the benefits of the current shelter-in-place orders, which for the San Francisco Bay Area have been extended until the end of May, is lighter traffic when you do have to be out. Because of this, road construction crews are seeking to expedite their projects and take advantage of the current lull in traffic.
Some of the ways they are achieving this are by:
- Switching from night work to daytime.
- Working for longer periods of time.
- Extending the amount of roadway closed at a time.
This means that long stretches of road may be unexpectedly closed and work crews may be out throughout the day. In many ways, this may be viewed as an increase in safety for the crews, who are at more danger from drivers during nighttime hours, but unaware drivers who don’t expect road construction or delays can be just as dangerous.
If you are driving at this time, be on the lookout for construction signs, crews and detours. In addition, road construction may at times reduce a driver’s visibility for stretches of road, ultimately making traffic accidents more likely.
You may come across construction projects in the following locations, as Caltrans has the following construction projects listed current in District 7:
- I-405 Connector to EB and WB I-705 Reconstruction
- Improvements on I-5 in both North and South Los Angeles County
- I-5 Roadway Rehabilitation in North Los Angeles County/Santa Clarita
- I-710 Pavement Rehabilitation
- SR-23 Pavement Rehabilitation
- SR-60 (Pomona Freeway) between Long Beach and San Gabriel River
For current projects in Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Santa Clara or Solano, please visit Caltrans’ current District 4 projects page. To find your Caltrans district, visit here.
Road Construction and Accidents: What You Should Know
Road construction, while necessary in order to improve driving conditions and overall roadway safety, is inherently dangerous during its implementation for drivers, scooters, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and construction crews for the following reasons:
- Decreased visibility due to construction equipment or the location of the construction (bends in the road, hills, etc.)
- Ever-changing traffic patterns and speeds, which can result in accidents from unfocused drivers
- Stopped traffic, which can contribute to driving aggression and cause drivers to have to quickly hit the brakes
- Narrow or closed lanes
- Speed bumps
- Road obstacles such as cones, signage, machinery or debris
- Dropoffs, pits, or uneven and unpaved roadway
- Detours and forced route changes, which can lead inexperienced drivers or those not from the area to become lost or confused
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were 799 construction zone-related deaths in the United States in 2017 alone, an increase in 2 percent from the previous year. Of those 799 deaths, 658 of them were passengers or drivers in vehicles. Construction zones require reduced speeds and increased focus, but not all drivers are willing to follow the rules and devote their energy to paying close attention.
During this time where so much is going on to distract us, be more aware of road conditions and possible construction zones than ever—it may save your life! You can’t control other drivers on the road, but you can be on the lookout for unsafe drivers and conditions.
Remember: Shelter-in-place orders require individuals to stay home unless for essential work or tasks like buying groceries or picking up medicine. If you must drive, be aware of changing traffic conditions and patterns due to quarantine as well as increased construction.
If you or a loved one is injured in a traffic accident during this time, seek medical attention immediately; medical personnel across the United States are doing an excellent job of separating COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases to protect those who need to be seen for other reasons. After seeking medical treatment, be sure to contact a qualified attorney such as Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss the steps you can take to recover damages from your accident.
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