About 90% of car crashes in Australia are caused by “minor mistakes,” such as distraction, fatigue, and overspeeding. While the statistics didn’t specifically state that road works contributed to those mistakes, we could assume that they do, since being distracted behind the wheel may cause you to collide with a barricade that you weren’t paying attention to. And if construction is ongoing in a sharp curve, overspeeding will make you crash straight to it, potentially harming the workers, too if it occurred within their working hours.
But in some instances, it’s the road works themselves to blame for the accidents, even if the drivers aren’t particularly making mistakes. Road work issues can present hazards that can take even a careful driver by surprise. In this case, the state government is liable for damages when their negligence has been proven.
Road Work Issues
Poor Road Conditions
It is oftentimes that the road conditions are the ones causing accidents, but the construction company may have failed to fix the problem, or the work they’re doing is bringing more hazards.
There could be instances when road works take place in a part of a road where visibility is crucial, such as curves, behind trees, or at a juncture where traffic is high at certain times of the day.
In times where the construction company is the one at fault, it could be because the repairs they’re doing have caused the accidents, or their employees have been negligent. They may have set up the construction in a way that’s more hazardous for drivers, or the company didn’t work with a reliable safety signage supplier that would’ve warned drivers of the road work ahead.
Road Work Maintenance
The state government should be responsible for the maintenance and repair of roads. If they failed to remove road hazards including those related to construction, they will be responsible for any accidents caused by it.
In the case of negligence, the person harmed must prove that the state has breached their duty to perform road works safely. If the entire road work situation caused poor road condition, decreased visibility, and other road problems leading to accidents, the state will be accountable.
Safety Tips For Drivers
Even if road work is mostly to blame, it would still be wiser to practice extra precaution as we drive, especially at night, when obstructions may not be seen immediately.
Aim your headlights correctly. It should cast a dim glow to any obstruction ahead. If the lights seem blocked, they may need to be cleaned. If your car is an older model that still uses plastic lens covers, check if the covers have already yellowed or faded. You might need to buy a headlight polish kit to ensure that they’re always clear. Having fog lights will also help, even when it isn’t foggy. Because their beams are spread lower, the create shadows of any potential blockers, alerting you immediately.
Dim your dash lights and instrument panel to maximise visibility. You’ll notice reflections on your windshield if the interior lights are on, and those don’t only reduce visibility but cause distractions as well.
Your eyeglasses may reduce visibility, too, so if you drive at night often, it’s best to invest in spectacles with an anti-reflective coating. Avoid sunglasses with a yellow tint! They reduce the amount of light passing the lens, which may cause you to miss some construction signs.
Don’t get distracted by bright lights coming your way, too. Look away from bright beams, and if the driver behind you has their high-beams on, too, adjust your rearview mirror to reflect the lights back to them as a warning.
If your windshield is bearing streaks, polish it using a newspaper. Keep a microfiber cloth in your car as well to use it to wipe any smears.
It’s important to practice defensive driving at all times, especially with some hazards out of our control, such as road works. Don’t drive if you feel drowsy, and never overspeed.