National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 3-7, 2017) is an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones.
Here are a few tips for driving safely in work zones:
In any work zone along any road, major or minor, expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people and vehicles may be working on or near the road.
Obey warning signs – they are posted in advance of road construction projects to give you time to follow their instructions to merge, slow down or stop.
Stay alert and minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and resist the temptation to get on your cell phone or engage in other distracting behaviors while driving through a work zone.
Stay calm. Work zones aren’t there to personally inconvenience you. They’re necessary to improve the roads for everyone.
You may see flashing arrow panels or “lane closed ahead” signs. Merge as soon as possible. Don’t zoom right up to the lane closure, then try to barge in – if everyone cooperates, traffic moves more efficiently. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by moving to the appropriate lane at first notice of an approaching work zone.
Slow down when the signs say to. Speeding is one of the leading causes of work zone related crashes so slow down and take your time.
The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision, so remember to leave at least two seconds of braking distance between you and the car in front of you. The amount of space required to provide two seconds of stopping time will increase the faster you’re driving!
Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers. Just like you, highway workers want to return home safely after each day’s work.
Just because you don’t see the workers immediately after you see the warning signs doesn’t mean they’re not out there. Some work zones – like line painting, road patching and mowing are mobile, moving down the road as the work is finished. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that states you’ve left the work zone.
Highway agencies use many different and varying ways to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. Often, the agencies will suggest a detour to help you avoid the work zone entirely. Plan ahead, and try an alternate route.