Delays and frustrations brought on by traffic jams caused by roadwork can make even the calmest person impatient. And that can be dangerous in a work zone: In 2014, auto accidents in work zones resulted in 669 fatalities and about 30,500 injuries.1
Driving in work zones does not have to be a stressful experience, though. Being mindful of those around you—both workers and other vehicles—can increase the safety of everyone on the road.
If your driving route includes work zones, here are a few things to keep in mind to help promote maximum safety and minimum stress. When entering a work zone:
- Be prepared for the unexpected: Situations can change quickly in work zones. Traffic could slow or stop unexpectedly, traffic lanes can merge, or equipment and workers can enter the roadway. Be aware and be prepared.
- Slow down: More than one-third of fatal accidents in work zones are caused by speeding.1 Obey the posted speed limit, even if you do not see any work currently in progress.
- Obey road crew flaggers and road signs: Flaggers and warning signs are there to help all drivers move safely through the work zone.
- Keep a safe following distance: Rear-end collisions account for 30% of work zone accidents.1 Keep a safe distance between you and other cars, construction workers and equipment to help avoid accidents.
Once you are in a work zone, it is important to maintain a safe speed and keep your eyes—and ears—focused on what is going on around you. Specifically:
- Stay alert and focused: Your full attention should be on the road. Never multitask while driving, especially through a work zone, where activity is happening all around you.
- Keep up with traffic: Do not slow down to watch the roadwork, or you may cause an accident.
The safest—and least-stressful—plan is to avoid work zones altogether. Consider the following tips:
- Plan ahead: Before hitting the road, check traffic reports for any delays. Some smartphone map apps now offer real-time traffic information, including accidents and construction zones.
- Leave early: If you know you will have to drive through a work zone, give yourself a few extra minutes to reach your destination on time.
- Be patient: While roadwork can be an inconvenience, remember that the crews are working to improve roads and make everyone’s drive safer.
With a little foresight—and a lot of patience—driving through a work zone can be safe and stress-free for everyone on the road, drivers and workers.