Construction season is upon us again so it seems appropriate to review some safety tips that can make it easier to navigate these hazardous areas. Professional drivers can expect to operate in construction zones, often more than once in a driving shift, and must be at the top of their game to get through safely. Here are some tips to keep in mind when driving in construction zones:
- Expect the unexpected: Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may shift or change, and people may be working near the road.
- Slow down: Speeding is one of the major causes of construction zone crashes.
- Never tailgate: Keep a safe following distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Rear-end crashes are the most common type of crash in a construction zone.
- Pay attention to the signs: The warning signs are there to help all drivers move safely through the construction zone. Observe the posted signs until you see one that says you have left construction zone.
- Obey road crew flaggers: The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely in the construction zone. Flaggers have the same authority as a regulatory sign, so drivers can be cited for not following their direction.
- Stay alert and minimize distractions: Your full attention should be on the roadway, and it is best to avoid changing radio station, eating, drinking, smoking, or using a cell phone (even hands free) while driving in a construction zone.
- Keep up with the traffic flow: Motorist can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by merging as soon as possible. Do not drive right up to the lane closure and then try to barge in. Flow does not mean speed; you must be at or below the posted speed limit.
- Do not lane hop: Stay in your lane, a couple of more spaces will not get you to your destination any sooner. Lane changes are the second most prevalent type of crash in construction zones.
- Expect delays: Schedule enough time to drive safely and check radio, TV, and websites for traffic information.
- Be patient and stay calm: The construction zone work crewmembers are working to improve the road and make your future drive safer. Getting angry behind the wheel will not make traffic move any faster.
With just a little extra caution when driving, we can have the safest construction season ever!