As cities across Michigan continue to grow in both geographic size and population, road construction will continue to be a common site on the state’s roadways. Though often necessary, road construction brings with it additional hazards for motorists, and these construction zones are a common cause of car wrecks, associated with injuries and even deaths.

Just how much of a link is there between road construction zones and car crashes?

By the numbers

The number of car crashes taking place in the nation’s road construction zones is rising considerably. So much so that 96,626 work zone crashes took place in 2015, marking a 42-percent increase over two years prior. That same year, a work zone-related car wreck occurred every 5.4 minutes in the United States, while 12 construction zone crashes that ultimately resulted in at least one fatality took place every week.

The year prior, in 2014, 669 people lost their lives in car crashes in work zones, which accounted for 2 percent of all road fatalities in the country that year. While work zone crashes can rise because of any number of different circumstances, rear-end crashes are especially common in these areas, with 41 percent of all of 2013’s fatal construction zone car crashes stemming from rear-end collisions.

Causes

While unfamiliar traffic patterns, loose gravel and the like are common in work zones and can contribute to your crash risk, much of the danger you face traveling through work zones comes from other drivers doing the same. For example, more than 600 fatal crashes occurred in construction zones in 2014, and alcohol played a role in a quarter of them. Speed, too, frequently came into play, with speed a contributing factor in 28 percent of 2014’s fatal construction zone crashes.

Work zones are not going anywhere anytime soon, and it is not always feasible to avoid them entirely. Make sure to exercise care when navigating through road construction and be on alert not only for construction-related hazards, but other motorists, too.

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