Monday's news that four New Richmond teens were involved in a terrible accident along Interstate 94 near Hudson can take the wind out of the sails of a community.
Such tragedies can also serve as a vivid reminder that driving is a hazardous venture.
It appears that the sudden backup in the eastbound lanes due to the approaching construction zone contributed to this double-fatal accident on Monday. (Another accident on Tuesday, although near Roberts, apparently wasn't caused by construction zone issues.)
Construction at the Roberts interchange has caused more than a few issues for motorists this summer. In early May, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation issued a warning to drivers along the interstate to be especially careful when navigating that stretch of roadway. About a half dozen accidents of varying severity have occurred in that construction zone in the past few months and little more can be done to warn motorists of the hazards ahead, according to WisDOT officials.
This week's fatal accident is an important lesson for all motorists, especially younger drivers who don't have as much behind-the-wheel experience, to remain ever attentive while on the road.
Last year, there were more than 1,700 work zone crashes in Wisconsin that caused eight deaths and nearly 750 injuries, 71 of which were serious, according to statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
"Rear-end collisions are the most frequent type of crash in a work zone," said WisDOT NW Region State Patrol Commander Jeff Frenette, in a recent press release from WisDOT. "Motorists need to be prepared to slow down and/or stop in work zones. That means keeping your eyes on the road at all times."
As you navigate the roads this summer, be aware that construction is happening in many places, not just I-94. Traffic in front of you can slow to a crawl in a hurry, and we all need to be prepared to react.
It only takes a moment of inattentiveness to create heartbreak and grief for family, friends and community members. If future fatal accidents can be avoided as a result of this tragic reminder, that would be a positive result from a horrible situation.