Summer just wouldn’t be the same without the sounds and sites of construction zones. Truck drivers and motorists alike all need to know how to travel through construction zones efficiently and safely. Whether you’ve been driving for decades or have just recently earned your license, the tips below will help you get through construction zones safely.
Work zones pose many driving risks because of the congestion they cause and all the activity of the personnel and equipment. It is up to drivers to pay attention and keep work zones safe for everyone.
1. Pay attention as you begin to approach work zones. Bright orange, diamond shaped warning signs will be posted well in advance of road construction. Be prepared to merge or change lanes as directed by the markers, signs or flagmen. Also, pay attention to the vehicles around you as they merge or prepare to change lanes. Not everyone is patient and a lot of aggressive behaviours start to show in construction zones.
2. Stay alert and slow down. Construction work zones have reduced speed limits to reduce the risk of fatality and injuries to both motorists and the work crew.
3. Obey the Flagman. In a work zone, a flagman has the same authority as a regularity sign. Pay attention to the instruction given by the flagman, after all, they are responsible for keeping you safe from what is happening ahead.
4. Please be patient. I know, at one point or another, we have all thought that construction zones are there to personally inconvenience us, especially when we’re running late or traffic is slowly crawling. Obviously, this isn’t the case. The alternative is we need to live with a deteriorated roadway system, which leads to a whole new level of complaining. Just be patient. No level of aggravation is going to get you through any faster and the angrier you get, the more likely you are to cause an accident.
5. Don’t follow too closely. The most common crash in a highway work zone is rear end collisions. Safe traveling distances still apply in work zones. Give everyone some space and be prepared to stop quickly with enough room to stop safely.
6. Don’t drive distracted. Pay Attention to the roadway and traffic ahead. Just because you are driving at a reduced speed or creeping along so slowly you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere at all doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still pay attention. There is a lot going on in construction work zones and this is not the time to start playing games, apply makeup, texting etc. You must keep your eyes on the road and watch out for stopped or slowing traffic and slow moving construction vehicles and of course constructions workers.
7. Until you see the sign that indicates you have left the construction work zone, follow the posted construction work zone signs. Just because you can’t immediately see workers or equipment doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
8. Plan ahead. Most construction zones will be posted on local highway and roadway reports. Before you start your trip, check DOT sites for construction information and avoid these areas where and when you can. If you can’t avoid it, you can at least be prepared for the delays you will face while driving through it.