How to Safely Navigate Work Zones
They’re practically unavoidable, and chances are you will encounter one every 90 miles or whenever you are late for an important meeting. Highway work zones, which seem to be everywhere this time of year, are now considered the most dangerous place for workers in the United States. But according to the Virginia Department of Transportation, motorists comprise four out of five of all people killed in work-zone accidents After all, a 3,500-pound car is no match for a 24,000-pound dump truck.
There is a lot going on in a work zone. Potholes, dirt, gravel, mud, sudden changes in lanes and slope, and loud machinery all add up to potential danger. So what can we do to ensure the safety of our road workers as well as the safety of other motorists?
First things first: when entering a work zone put down the cell phone, stop fiddling with the radio and concentrate on your driving. You are driving through someone’s work area and there is no margin for error.
Speed limits posted in work zones are not suggestions, they are the law. They’re there for your own safety as well as the construction crew’s. Keep in mind that even if no workers are present, there may be unseen hazards, so slow equals safe. Also remember that in most states fines are doubled in work zones.
Focus on the Road
Traffic patterns can change as many as several times a day in a work zone, so even drivers who are familiar with the road should pay close attention. Expect the unexpected and don’t take anything for granted.
And the Sign Said…
Signs, arrows and flagmen are there to help you move through the work zone more efficiently. If there is a lane closure, merge early, don’t wait until the last minute to change lanes.
The most common type of accident in work zones is a rear-end collision. Make sure to leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you in case you need to make a sudden stop.
Keep Your Cool
Work zones often require lane closures that can bring traffic to a crawl or even a complete stop. In rush hour, traffic can become extremely congested. Bear in mind that losing your patience will not help you get through the zone any faster, so keep your cool.