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Driving safely in construction zones

There's a lot of construction on the roads at this time of year, and many road crews are rushing to try to wrap up their projects before the fall weather hits. That can make for a frustrating -- and dangerous -- commute for many drivers.

Statistics indicate that there are nearly 100,000 crashes every year in construction zones. While most of these aren't fatal, many cause serious property damage and injuries. About 70% of these accidents happen during the day, when the roads are busiest.

So what can you do to stay safer when you're driving? Follow these tips:

  1. Keep your eyes open for signs of roadwork. If you spot "work ahead" signs, orange cones or barrels, anticipate trucks and workers ahead.
  2. Slow down and watch for obstacles in the road. Where there's construction here are bound to be large pieces of machinery, heavy vehicles and other obstructions in the road at some point. Slowing down keeps you safer (and helps you avoid fines for speeding in a construction zone).
  3. Find an alternate route, if you can. If you have a GPS system that will re-route you, take the opportunity to steer yourself far away from the construction. Getting out of the area is the safest choice.
  4. Look out for big trucks and other construction vehicles. Sprayers, rollers, excavators and dump trucks are common -- and they typically provide poor visibility for their drivers. Keep back if you see any of these ahead and wait until you are able to pass safely.

Keep this in mind: You can do everything right and still end up in a serious accident because a construction vehicle or truck didn't see you. The driver may be so focused on their work that they forget to look around. If that happens, make sure that you get the proper treatment for your injuries right away. There will be plenty of time to figure out how to make a claim for fair compensation later.

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