Roadside Risks: Understanding the Dangers of Working on Highways

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s easy to overlook the dangers that lurk just beyond the pavement. 

Forget the scenic overlooks and the wind in your hair.  For many workers today, “on the road” translates to long hours, tight deadlines, and a constant battle against a very real danger. 

Delivery drivers, rideshare operators, construction workers,–  these are just among the few. Countless individuals brave the risks of working on the road every day. However, amidst the roar of passing vehicles and the rush of deadlines, the hazards they face often go unnoticed.

The Invisible Threats

While working on the road may seem straightforward, the reality is far more complex. Beyond the obvious risks of traffic accidents and collisions, numerous hidden dangers pose a constant threat to workers’ safety:

Distracted Drivers: In an age of smartphones and constant connectivity, distracted driving has become a pervasive problem. Workers on the road are particularly vulnerable to drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise not paying attention to the road.

Speeding Vehicles: Speed limits are often ignored on busy roads and highways, putting workers at risk of being struck by speeding vehicles. Even a momentary lapse in judgment by a speeding driver can have catastrophic consequences for roadside workers.

Scenario: A Split Second on Two Wheels:

Imagine you’re a cyclist delivering groceries on a sunny afternoon.  Traffic seems manageable, but a car cuts you off, forcing you into a tight spot.  In a split second, you hear the screech of tyres and feel the sickening thud of metal against bone. You got struck by a car while cycling. The world goes blurry, the groceries you were so focused on delivering scattered like forgotten dreams.  This isn’t just a hypothetical situation; for many road warriors, it’s a constant fear.

Weather Conditions: From scorching heat to torrential rain, workers must contend with a wide range of weather conditions that can make their jobs even more hazardous. Slippery surfaces, reduced visibility, and extreme temperatures all increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

Hazardous Materials: Roadside workers may encounter hazardous materials such as chemicals, fuel, or sewage, which can pose serious health risks if not handled properly. Exposure to toxic substances can lead to respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other long-term health issues.

Falling Debris: Construction projects and roadside maintenance work often involve heavy machinery and equipment, which can pose a risk of falling debris or objects. Workers must remain vigilant to avoid being struck by loose materials or equipment.

The Human Toll

Behind every statistic and safety regulation lies a human story—a worker who never made it home to their loved ones, a family torn apart by tragedy. 

These sobering statistics below don’t lie:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roadway incidents were the leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States in 2019, accounting for 1,181 deaths.
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that between 2003 and 2017, over 14,000 workers lost their lives in work-related roadway incidents in Australia.
  • Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States, accounting for 24% of all fatal occupational injuries in 2019.

These numbers represent more than just statistics—they represent individuals whose lives were cut short while simply trying to do their jobs. Each death leaves behind grieving families, shattered communities, and a void that can never be filled.

  • Injuries and Disabilities: Roadside workers are at risk of sustaining serious injuries, including fractures, concussions, and spinal cord injuries. These injuries can result in long-term disabilities that impact their ability to work and lead a fulfilling life.
  • Fatalities: Despite safety measures and regulations, fatal accidents involving roadside workers continue to occur with alarming frequency. Each loss of life is a stark reminder of the urgent need to prioritize worker safety on our roads.
  • Emotional Trauma: The psychological toll of working on the road should not be underestimated. Witnessing accidents, near misses, and fatalities can have a profound impact on workers’ mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A Call to Action

In the face of these dangers, it’s clear that more must be done to protect the safety and well-being of roadside workers. This requires a concerted effort from government agencies, employers, and the general public to:

  • Enforce Safety Regulations: Stricter enforcement of existing safety regulations and the implementation of new measures to protect roadside workers from harm.
  • Invest in Training and Education: Comprehensive training programs to equip workers with the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe on the job.
  • Raise Awareness: Public awareness campaigns to educate drivers about the importance of slowing down and paying attention in work zones.
  • Provide Support: Access to mental health services and support networks to help workers cope with the emotional toll of their work.

The Aftermath: What to Do When an Accident Strikes

Even though it’s something we never want to happen, it’s crucial to know what to do if an accident occurs. Knowing what steps to take can help you overcome the situation more effectively and ensure the best possible outcome. Here are some important actions to consider if you find yourself involved in a roadside accident:

  1. Stay Calm: In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s crucial to stay calm and collected. Take a deep breath, assess the situation, and focus on ensuring your safety and the safety of others involved.
  2. Check for Injuries: Check yourself and others for any injuries. If anyone is injured, call for emergency medical assistance immediately. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  3. Move to a Safe Location: If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road or a nearby safe area to avoid blocking traffic and reduce the risk of further accidents. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers to the situation.
  4. Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident. Be sure to collect details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy numbers.
  5. Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, any visible damage, and any relevant road conditions or signage. This documentation can be valuable when filing insurance claims or seeking legal assistance.
  6. Notify Authorities: Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need to notify the police or other relevant authorities. They can help facilitate the exchange of information, document the scene, and provide assistance as needed.
  7. Seek Legal Advice: If you’ve been injured in the accident or if significant damage has occurred, consider seeking legal advice from a qualified attorney who specializes in personal injury cases. They can help protect your rights, navigate the legal process, and pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.
  8. Follow-Up: After the accident, be sure to follow up with your insurance company, medical providers, and any other relevant parties. Keep detailed records of any medical treatment, repairs to your vehicle, and other expenses related to the accident.
  9. Take Care of Yourself: Finally, don’t forget to prioritize your well-being in the aftermath of an accident. Seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals if you’re struggling emotionally, and focus on your physical recovery as needed.

By taking these proactive steps, you can better protect yourself and your interests in the aftermath of a roadside accident. Remember, safety should always be your top priority, so don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it.


Working on the road is not just a job—it’s a high-stakes endeavour that requires courage, resilience, and unwavering dedication. As we navigate the complexities of modern life, let us not forget the men and women who brave the dangers of the roadside every day. his includes professionals like delivery drivers, rideshare operators, construction workers, and a same day courier service, who all play vital roles in keeping our communities connected and functioning.

By raising awareness, implementing safety measures, and supporting roadside workers, we can create a safer, more compassionate world for all.

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