In Nevada, road construction is an unavoidable part of life, but for many people, making their way through construction zones can prove unnerving and dangerous. If navigating your way through Nevada’s seemingly endless stream of construction zones makes you uneasy, you are wise to exercise caution because the number of Americans losing their lives each year in the nation’s road construction zones is on the rise.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, while the total number of road fatalities that occurred on U.S. soil declined between 2016 and 2017, the number of work zone fatalities rose 2%.

Multiple dangers

While just about anyone who has ever made his or her way through road construction can attest that doing so can add time and stress to the day, doing so can also increase your chance of involvement in a fatal car accident. In 2017, 710 fatal work zone crashes occurred on the nation’s roadways, and many of them shared certain factors in common.

For example, speed is a common element in many fatal construction zone car crashes, with speed a contributing factor in 203 of the 710 fatal crashes that took place in 2017. The year prior, 782 fatal work zone crashes took place on the nation’s roadways, and 194 of those crashes involved speed.

Additionally, certain driving behaviors, such as drinking and driving or driving while distracted, are dangerous anywhere, but they can prove particularly deadly in work zones. Unfamiliar traffic patterns and reduced visibility caused by construction equipment, signage and the like can make it tough for anyone to safely navigate through road construction. However, drivers who further endanger the public by abusing substances or driving negligently may have an even harder time navigating these construction zones safely.

While some work zone car crashes result from negligent drivers, others arise because of conditions relating to the construction, itself. The rising number of fatal work zones car crashes, however, suggests that all motorists would be wise to exercise extreme caution when traveling through them.