Highway work zones are hazardous both for motorists who drive through the complex array of signs, barrels, and lane changes, and for workers who build, repair, and maintain our streets, bridges, and highways. According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), transportation accidents have been the leading cause of on-the-job deaths in the United States since 1992. In 2014, there were 669 fatalities from crashes in work zones, equating to 2% of all roadway fatalities nationally. Keep yourself and others safe by following a few construction zone guidelines.
Know the Signs
Pay attention to the orange diamond-shaped warning signs or electronic message boards posted in advance of a road construction project. They exist to warn and prepare drivers that traffic patterns may change and to slow down for potential hazards. Be sure to obey the posted speed limit, not only because fines for moving traffic violations may be doubled, but for the safety of everyone sharing the road. Change lanes only where pavement markings indicate, and only when traffic conditions permit.
It is imperative to dedicate full attention to the roadway, especially when entering construction zones. Avoid changing the radio station, using a mobile phone, eating, or other distractions that can remove concentration from the road. Be prepared to react by watching for brake lights on vehicles ahead and surrounding traffic. If there happens to be flaggers directing traffic, be sure to follow their instructions.
Expect the Unexpected
At any time, workers, work vehicles, or equipment may enter your lane without warning. Other drivers may slow, stop, or change lanes unexpectedly, so don’t tailgate. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance in case a sudden stop is required. Also, understand that traffic patterns can change daily. It’s not a bad idea to plan ahead and download a road construction update app, designed to simplify your commute and get you where you need to go as safely as possible in a construction zone.
Everyone plays a role in maintaining a safe work zone area during roadway construction. By remembering these tips and having a little patience, a dangerous situation can be avoided.
The Morrissey Law Firm, P.C., is located in Springfield, Missouri, and focuses in personal injury and wrongful death trial work. If you need a personal injury or wrongful death attorney, please contact us to schedule a consultation.