Accidents at roadwork sites

Freeways (autobahns) are the highest-quality roads in Germany – and the safest. In terms of safety, their weak points are their slip roads and, above all, the sections whether there are roadworks, which interrupt the flow of traffic and repeatedly lead to serious accidents. In a study carried out by the Technische Universität Dresden and commissioned by the UDV (German Insurers Accident Research), the accident statistics at 12 roadwork sites with a total length of 68 km were analyzed, and five roadwork sites were subjected to a detailed investigation.

The results show that accidents by roadwork sites are less serious than on sections of the freeway where there are no roadworks. This is because vehicles travel at lower speeds by roadwork sites. The length of the roadwork site has no effect on the accident statistics.

If you look at the roadwork sites more closely, it emerges that they do not have a particularly high number of accidents, regardless of their width or the speed limit. In fact, they are safer than sections of the freeway without roadwork sites.

There are particular problems at roadwork sites where vehicles are guided onto a different lane, at S-curves or temporary slip roads. Accidents occur up to six times more frequently at these points than on sections of freeway without roadwork sites.

To improve safety by roadwork sites on freeways, the UDV makes the following recommendations:

  • The number of lanes should be reduced well in advance of the roadwork site.

  • S-curves and sections where traffic is guided onto a different lane should be made very clear.

  • Where temporary slip roads are unavoidable, they must be clearly identifiable and have deceleration lanes.

  • At the end of a roadwork site, the speed limit should be raised step by step.