Whether you’re a commuter driving in your own vehicle, a commercial driver in a semi, or a construction worker driving a dump truck or other vehicle, it’s important to obey the traffic laws, and drive safely and intelligently while on the road. It’s even more important to do so in construction zones where traffic can bottleneck, tensions can rise, and traffic accidents can not just affect yourself and other drivers, but workers on the site as well.
The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) takes place on March 23-27, as the snow melts and the construction season gets under way. During this time, let’s try to remember some safety rules and tips to keep you, your fellow drivers, and the workers trying to repair the roads you use every day, safe.
Over the past 5 years, crashes in work zones have resulted in 4,400 deaths and 200,000 injuries. Fatal work zone crashes occur most often in the summer or fall, when construction is at its peak, and usually involve working-age adults.
In order to improve your safety, the safety of other drivers, and construction worker safety, we’ve provided a few tips from the FHWA:
- Stay alert; minimize distractions
- Turn on headlights
- Pay attention to the road
- Read the road signs for instructions and warnings
- Watch for brake lights
- Merge into the proper lane
- Merge well before the lane closure rather than swerving or forcing your way into traffic at the last moment
- Don’t tailgate
- Obey the posted speed limit
- It only takes 25 more seconds to cover one mile at 45 mph than it does at 65 mph
- Fines are often doubled for moving traffic violations
- Follow flagger instructions
- Be prepared for the unexpected
- Workers, work vehicles, or equipment may enter your lane without warning
- Other vehicles may slow, stop, or change lanes unexpectedly
- Be patient
Remember, traffic violation fines are often doubled in construction zones. Why? Because workers on construction sites depend on your ability to drive safely and within the confines of the law to keep them safe. When you’re driving through a work zone or construction site, you are not only protecting yourself and other drivers through careful driving, you’re also protecting the workers in the area who trust you to follow safe driving rules.