Road construction and maintenance is a reality, something drivers must deal with throughout the year.
Driving through work zones can certainly be annoying, but it can also be dangerous for both drivers and workers. Narrow lanes, shoulder drop-offs, unfamiliar lanes, traffic cones, cars parked in work zones – all of these can make for dangerous driving (and working) conditions.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, more than 4,400 people died and more than 200,000 were injured in work zone accidents over the past five years. Eighty-five percent of those killed in work zone accidents were drivers or passengers.
As we approach the summer and fall road construction seasons, here are some things to keep in mind to stay safe in work zones:
- Look for signs: Work zones are heavily marked. Look for orange signs that indicate if there is road work, if lanes are changing or narrowing, whether there is a detour, etc. Also, obey flaggers if there are any present.
- Avoid distractions: Distracted driving is never a good idea. But it can be especially dangerous to use a phone or text while driving in a work zone. Take a zero-tolerance approach to distracted driving in work zones and aim to continue this behavior whenever you drive.
- Turn on your headlights: Keep your headlights on even during daylight hours.
- Slow down: Speeding while driving in a work zone is a recipe for disaster. Obey the posted speed limit and be ready to reduce your speed.
- Don’t follow too close: The most common type of traffic accident in a work zone is a rear-end crash. Allow plenty of space between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Traffic may slow or stop unexpectedly.
Because traffic conditions can change daily in a work zone, it is important to pay close attention – even if you take the same route every day.
Following these tips can help keep you and others around you in work zones safe.