April 11 through April 15, 2016 Is Work Zone Awareness Week
This year’s theme:
“Don’t be that driver!”
“Work on safety. Get home safely. Every day.”
Mention “work-zone safety” and you probably think about protecting the men and women who build, repair, and maintain our roadways. That’s what I certainly thought when during my morning commute, I looked up at the highway 202’s overhead message board, which declared “Work Zone Awareness Week: Give Em’ a Brake.”
Except, National Work Zone Awareness Week (now in its 17th year), is about more than just protecting the lives of those who build and maintain our roadways. It’s also about protecting the lives of motorists.
In fact, according to the Federal Highway Administration, drivers and passengers accounted for 82 percent of work zone fatalities nationally in 2014, the most recent year with complete data. Workers? 17 percent. The most frequently occurring type of work zone crash is rear-end collisions.
Most of these accidents involved speeding, in-vehicle distraction, and inattentive or aggressive driving. All of these accidents were/are preventable! The following are some of the best ways to prevent work zone related accidents. These tips will ensure everyone remains safe.
Pay Attention – Observe and obey posted warning signs, message boards, and flaggers. Taking your eyes off the road, for even a second, can result in a catastrophe. YOU as a driver have the responsibility to ensure everyone remains safe.
Slow Your Roll – Speeding is the number one cause of work-zone related accidents. If there’s a sign stating to go 35MPH; go 35MPH! You can be cited for speeding – and the citations are double in work-zones (as well as school zones).
Expect the Unexpected – Speed limits may be lowered, travel lanes may be narrowed or eliminated (yes, even during rush hour), and workers may be working near your travel lane. If a worker is present, slow down or get over, regardless if directed or not.
Always Buckle Up – No matter how short or long the distance you’re traveling, always wear your seat belt; no exceptions. You never know when an accident is going to happen.
Don’t Follow Too Closely – Don’t tailgate – period! You should maintain a distance of 3 seconds, in ideal driving conditions, and 6 seconds in poor driving conditions (i.e. during rain, wet pavement, or in heavy or work-zone traffic.