Speed is a factor in one of every four work zone crashes. With hazards such as narrow lines, merging vehicles, shifting lanes, and slowing and stopping traffic, there is less time and room to react to a dangerous situation. Here are some safety tips to consider when driving in construction zones:
- Pay close attention – Drivers should eliminate all activities that pose a distraction. Watch traffic and be prepared to react. Be aware of your blind spots. Don’t change lanes unless absolutely necessary and avoid sudden lane changes.
- Watch for signs – Orange, diamond-shaped signs are posted to give advance warning of lane closings, construction areas, and workers ahead.
- Maintain a safe distance from workers and equipment – You should use the lane furthest from the work zone when possible. This provides for additional space between the sides of the vehicles and construction workers.
- Watch for and obey road crew flaggers – You must follow road crew instructions/directions. Road crew flaggers have the same authority as a regulatory sign; you could be sited for disobeying their directions.
- Be patient – You will need to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. Even if workers and/or equipment are not visible in a work zone, that doesn’t mean they are not there. You must obey all work zone signs until you have exited the work zone and there is a sign that indicates the end of the work zone.
- Plan ahead – Keep up with the latest road conditions. Many states maintain websites that keep drivers current with the latest road conditions. Allow plenty of time to make the trip or, if possible, take an alternate route.
- Fines – As well as being dangerous, speeding and other traffic violations committed in work zones can be costly. Most states impose enhanced fines for traffic violations in work zones. Many states double the amount of those fines; there are some states that sentence drivers to community service and/or jail time.