Go to this site for up to the minute traffic information (including live cams of Borman Expressway, etc.) from the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Now that winter is past, all across Northwest Indiana there are road crews working on our roads and highways to do repairs and seasonal roadway maintenance, and you’ll likely drive by those bright orange barrels and see highway workers busy doing things like fixing cracks and pot holes in asphalt, repainting warning lines as needed, and doing new work like building new roads, off-ramps, and more.
All this work is necessary and needs to be done when the weather is conducive to getting things done. Unfortunately, this also means that there may be traffic delays and lanes of backed up cars, trucks, big rigs, and more as highway work zones block the free flow of traffic. It’s needed to keep roads safe for drivers, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.
To minimize the inconvenience to Indiana drivers and keep our lanes moving as smoothly as possible, much of Indiana highway repairs and road construction takes place at night or during times of day that aren’t when most of us are on the roads. Drivers are also given lots of warning ahead of time with signage and electric message boards that there is a work zone ahead or that road closures will take place during certain time periods on that route, giving the driver a choice to take a different route and avoid the work zone. Major work zone events will be part of the nightly new coverage on television, radio, and social media as well.
Still, frustrated drivers often disregard safety while driving alongside or through highway work zones. Drivers late for work, to get the kids to school, or commercial drivers behind on a deadline to deliver cargo to its destination can become so irritated by the stop and go slowness of work zone manuevering that they decide to drive a bit recklessly to get passed the work zone area. They’ll do things like:
- Move between lanes dangerously
- Decide not to yield the right of way to another vehicle
- Run over stuff in the roadway rather than avoiding it
- Drive off-road to get ahead of the stalled traffic
- Run other vehicles off the roadway
When this happens, the frustrated driver places his or her car and passengers at risk of an accident but also places those vehicles around him in danger of a crash. According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, 300 people were hurt and 13 people died in accidents taking place in highway work zones.
- Nationally, four out of five people killed in work zones are drivers and passengers – not highway workers.
- Rear-end crashes are the most common type of work zone crash.
- It takes just one minute more to travel through a two-mile work zone at 45 mph than 65 mph.
- Areas where traffic is entering or leaving work zones are often more dangerous because drivers may be changing lanes and merging.
- Most fatal work zone crashes occur on roads with speed limits greater than 50 mph.
- Fatal work zone crashes occur most often in summer and fall.
This year, remember it’s better to be safe than sorry when your driving takes you into a roadway work zone here in Northwest Indiana. It’s a hassle, but patience pays. If you are unfortunately involved in a road work zone crash, then please note that injury victims may have a claim against the driver who crashed into him or her. Other parties may share responsibility here, too: if the work zone created road hazards that contributed to the crash — say the warning sign wasn’t working, or road barriers weren’t moved — then others may share in the legal responsibility for the harm that has occurred. Also, highway road workers that are injured in a work zone crash may be covered by worker’s compensation.