As the Virginia Department of Transportation begins its spring and summer construction projects, they're reminding drivers to be extra vigilant on the roads with Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.
This comes as Hampton Roads experienced 1,327 work zone crashes last year.
VDOT says the data from 2021 is startling:
- Distracted driving crashes within work zones increased 27%
- Speeding crashes within work zones increased 35%
- Fatalities within work zones increased 155%
Holly Christopher with VDOT Hampton Roads says it's important to remember the people working in construction zones are working to make the roads better for everyone.
"If you have a desk job, imagine trying to do your job on the side of the road where cars are speeding by you at 65 or 75+ mph," said Christopher. "Imagine how uncomfortable you might feel. Our construction crews do that on a daily basis."
To curb the rise in work zone crashes, VDOT suggests slowing down, leaving plenty of room between you and the car in front of you, and practicing defensive driving.
VDOT traffic engineers say they try not to put up decreased speed signs in work zones by maintaining lane width, but that doesn't mean you still shouldn't slow down.
VDOT says most crashes occur during rush hour and remind drivers that fines are doubled in work zones.