Work zones are a necessary part of highway maintenance but they are also inherently dangerous. By their nature, work zones are placed along the road at random for drivers and form choke points where cars must erratically slow to safely navigate. The danger really comes into play when drivers don’t pay attention to their altered environment or even drive much faster than the regularly posted speed limit. A driver in Western Michigan found this out the hard way when they sent their car sailing through the air.
On Sunday morning, a Michigan State Police patrol cruiser came into contact with a driver going westbound on I-196 near 32nd Avenue in Jamestown, Michigan. The township of just over 5,000 people is located 16 miles southwest of Grand Rapids. The dashcam footage from the MSP vehicle shows the driver traversing at a high rate of speed through a two-lane work zone. As the zone ends and the interstate expands back out to three lanes, the driver heads straight on at a lane shift and off the road. The driver’s sedan goes sailing through the air into a huge roadside ditch.
According to the MSP, the driver involved was traveling almost 30 miles per hour faster than the 60 mph speed limit. In a tweet, the state police stated, “The driver unfortunately lost control & crashed. Perfect example of what could happen if you decide to go 89mph in a 60mph construction zone.”
According to the Federal Highway Administration, 857 people lost their lives in work zone traffic crashes in 2020. Speeding was a contributing factory in 37 percent of 2020’s fatal crashes in work zones. Thankfully, the driver in this crash would be included in this year’s count as they somehow escaped with only minor injuries. Though, I’d be surprised if the sedan survived.