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Construction Zone & Road Safety [Podcast]
As the weather warms up, construction crews often emerge in full force, setting up worksites on interstates, highways, and side streets. As an attorney with Meshbesher & Spence, Andrew Davick regularly sees cases involving vehicular injury to construction crew members. He feels by offering a few words of caution, he may be able to help prevent tragic accidents this spring.
What should drivers be aware of as the weather warms up? Spring tends to bring more people out onto the roads, making it more important than ever that drivers slow down and pay attention. Not only are construction crews in full force, drivers will also see more slow-moving trucks and farm vehicles as big projects start up.
If you think about it, slowing down for only 45 or 90 seconds will only get you to your destination 45-90 seconds late. Yes, but people are always in such a rush. Often with farm equipment, people will get impatient and pass on a two-lane highway, creating a major traffic hazard. It’s important for people to just slow down and be patient.
Aren’t there fines for speeding in a construction zone? I believe the law is that normal speeding fines double in a construction zone.
What else can happen if a driver is caught speeding through a construction zone? If an accident takes place, a driver could be charged with careless driving, especially if the driver was engaging in behavior that can be labeled reckless. If the driver was exceeding the construction zone speed limit by more than 25 miles per hour, the officer may automatically issue a misdemeanor for reckless driving.
Crews and construction views aren’t the only construction zone hazards. No. In fact, often the biggest danger in a construction zone comes from the other drivers. In all the confusion, cars can sometimes be in the wrong lane or even heading in the wrong direction. We’ve seen cases where construction crew members were killed as a result of drivers failing to pay attention.
The Zipper Merge
Minnesotans are currently dealing with something called the zipper merge. Could you explain a little bit about that? Sure. When lanes are required to merge together, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is now asking people to stay in their respective lanes until they reach they end. At that point, they merge in a “zipper” form to one-lane traffic.
What does that mean? With a zipper merge, everyone takes turns, with the person at the front of the line letting one person over. The person behind that person lets the next person over, and so on. The effect is similar to that of a zipper.
Is this process effective? MnDOT videos illustrating the zipper merge show that it is a much more efficient way to merge than the old way, which involves one lane of traffic speeding to get to the front of the line while the drivers in the other lane do everything they can to block them from getting over.
If you have questions about Minnesota traffic laws or construction site safety, contact Meshbesher & Spence at 1-888-728-9866.
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