By nature work zones are dangerous places. In 2015, 700 construction workers died while performing upgrades, paving roads, and completing normal duties in work zones, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Every work zone is equipped with a different set of potential traffic hazards and requires construction traffic control devices to keep others safe. Construction traffic devices used to protect workers include items such as: safety cones, safety vest, barricades, traffic signs, speed limit signs, and work zone safety products - but they can only do so much to protect them.
So how do you protect workers when you’re driving through their work zone?
10 tips for safely driving through a work zone
- Anticipate delays – Speed limits are reduced, traffic lanes often change, and people and vehicles are most likely working on or near the road you need to travel on.
- Did you see that sign? - Sure hope so! Slow down, be alert, and pay attention to the orange, diamond-shaped warning signs.
- Just breathe. Remind yourself that work zones are only temporary. Once improvements are completed, the roads will make your commute better.
- So what’s the speed limit, again? Don’t be that guy! – Be alert and watch for speed limit signs and follow the mandatory speed limit.
- Safe Distance from workers, always - Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers.
- Look for a “Flagger Ahead” warning sign – Be prepared to pay attention and obey the flagger’s commands for traffic control.
- Watch for Merge signs or Lane Closed Ahead - To keep the traffic moving and safe for all, maintain the flow of the traffic and move into the appropriate lane at first notice.
- No Tailgating - The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision, so remember to leave a few seconds of braking distance between you and the car in front of you.
- Assume you’re in a work zone until you are told otherwise - Just because you haven’t seen workers, it doesn't mean they're not out there. You’ll know you’re not in a work zone anymore when the signs tell you so.
- Use Detours or alternate routes when you can - Don’t attempt to drive into a work zone that has a detour. Plan ahead, and try another route.
How can you get involved in work zone safety?
- The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) is committed to “ Safer Roads, Save Lives” and has created a National Work Zone Awareness Week that runs from April 3- 7 to highlight the importance of keeping workers safe when driving through work zones.
- The ATSSA campaign encourages all roadway safety professionals across the county to wear orange to proudly show their support of work zone safety.
- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Work Zone Safety Grant and the ATSSA created a FREE app to help work zone professionals determine a list of best practices, minimum required devices, and temporary traffic control areas. Download the Work Zone Safety App here.
When working in a work zone, communication is the key to keep workers safe! Accuform has all the temporary traffic control devices you need to effectively Inform, Protect, & Motivate® Your Workforce.
For More information:
American Traffic Safety Services Association
National Work Zone Awareness Week