Work Zone Ahead signs can frustrate drivers on the road when slow traffic affects our daily routine. But drivers can lose a lot more than just a few minutes if they don’t follow traffic laws for construction areas.
Construction zones can be dangerous for both drivers and workers. According to the National WorkZone Safety Information Clearninghouse, in 2020 (the most recent year reported) there were 102,000 workzone crashes resulting in 857 fatalities and an estimated 44,000 injuries.
When driving through construction zones, follow these tips to help reduce your potential for accidents and other problems:
- Slow down. Most sites are only a short distance overall and it takes only an extra 25 seconds to cover one mile traveling at 45 mph as compared with 65 mph. Virtually all states increase penalties for speeding through highway construction zones, and many mandate jail time for injuries caused by a driver speeding in a construction zone.
- Maintain adequate following distance. Allow adequate space for controlled speed changes and stops. Riding the tailgate of the vehicle in front of you will not get you through any sooner.
- Expect the unexpected! Dedicate your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions – such as changing the radio station – and never use your phone while driving, especially in construction areas. Be wary of the vehicles around you that might suddenly drift, stop or change lanes. Many drivers around you will be looking at the construction activity instead of paying attention to the road.
- Keep your headlights on. Even during daytime, keep your headlights on to enhance your visibility to workers and oncoming traffic.
- Change lanes sooner rather than later. Vehicles merging at the last minute is a leading cause of accidents in construction zones.
- Pay attention to the signs. The signs are there to help alert you to what is to coming. Be sure to observe these signs until after you have left the construction zone.
- Obey the flaggers. They are there to help ensure that traffic flows safely through the site. Drivers can be cited for not properly following flaggers’ instructions.
Don’t become a statistic. Be focused and careful when traveling through construction zones because you’re not only putting your life in harm’s way, but the lives of others.
Federal Highway Administration
National Safety Council
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.