WORK ZONE SAFETY
An unexpected work zone can be a commute killer. Work zones are necessary but can add stress for motorists and work zone workers alike. Work zones are created to keep everyone safe but are only truly effective when motorists abide by the rules. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were a total of 762 fatal work zone crashes in 2019*. There were also 135 worker fatalities in road construction sites. As we can tell, proper functioning work zone safety requires complete focus from all who enter. The main priority of a work zone is to get everyone home safely without disrupting the flow of traffic too much. To ensure a safer roadway for all, follow these tips:
RESEARCH YOUR ROUTE
It is easy to get into a routine and expect clear roads all the time, but it would be wise to preview your route before getting on the road. Being aware of potential work zones or road hazards can go a long way. It can be the difference between being on time and being 20 minutes late. If stoppages are a no-go, it may be best to research alternate routes and plan accordingly. In most cases, it should be possible to avoid work zones – just be wary that it could add extra time to your trip.
STAY ALERT WHEN APPROACHING WORK ZONES
If you decide to deal with work zones after researching your route or come upon an unexpected work zone, it is crucial to use caution when approaching. Road conditions can change without a moment’s notice. Stay alert while driving – look for warning signs, and adjust accordingly. Avoid distractions like texting and driving. Be patient and avoid rash decisions. It is possible to lose your license for fifteen days if you drive recklessly in a work zone. Keep an eye out for speed reductions, lane changes, mergers, and more. As you approach the work zone, stay alert of your surroundings to protect yourself and others. If instructed, turn on your headlights.
PROTECT WORKERS; WORK ZONE SAFETY SAVES LIVES
As mentioned above, it is critical to approach a work zone with caution. As you get closer to a work zone, leave room for other motorists to make last-minute adjustments; not all drivers may be as alert as you. Changing conditions in a work zone are a guarantee – it is best to slow down and leave enough space for workers and flaggers to operate. Turn on your four-way flashers if your vehicle is stopped or moving at a slow speed.
USE THE OPEN LANE WHEN PROMPTED
It is common for work zones to turn into a one-lane operating system at some point. If you encounter this type of work zone, stay alert and once again leave extra room between yourself and the next vehicle. A traffic control expert will prompt you to move into the open lane when it becomes safe. Although an expert is instructing you, it is still best to exercise caution and stay alert to oncoming traffic. Again, drive defensively and keep in mind that not everyone is taking the same precautions as you.
KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE
As stressed above, keep a safe distance from workers and other motorists. You never know what will happen in a work zone. The best course of action you can take to avoid accidents or incidents is to drive defensively and leave space. The most common crash type in a work zone is a rear-end collision (24% of all work zone fatal crashes). Give others the room to make quick stops and change of direction if needed – it is best to double the amount of space you would normally give.
KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISREGARDING WORK ZONE SAFETY GUIDELINES
When you are in an active work zone, certain traffic violations double in fines. As stressed before, be cautious and exercise patience in and around work zones. Shaving some time off of your trip is not worth the consequences of acting recklessly.
*https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/nwzaw_factsheet_2021/nwzaw_factsheet_2021.pdf (Work Zone Crash Statistics)
To learn more about our work zone capabilities visit www.trafficandsafetysigns.com or call us at (610) 925-1990