Speed Variations Are Major Cause of Work Zone CrashesAbstract:
Rear-end collisions cause the preponderance of work zone crashes in Virginia, indicating that a high variance in vehicle speeds is the major cause of accidents in work zones, according to a VDOT-sponsored study. The proportion of fatal crashes is higher in work zones, as is the proportion of multiple-vehicle crashes. Most crashes occurred in the “activity area,” or locations where the roadwork was being done. The “termination” area of the work zone, where motorists resume normal driving speeds, had the fewest crashes. Another finding was that the type of crashes was different from daytime to nighttime, with more fixed-object crashes and fewer angle and rear-end crashes during night hours. Also noted was an increase in sideswipe crashes of vehicles traveling in the same direction as they moved from “advanced warning” areas to “transition” areas where traffic merges because of lane reductions. The researches have many reccomendations to help remedy the situation including the use of changeable message signs with radar units as speed control devices in work zones to reduce rear-end crashes.