Driving safely through work zones: Protect yourself and construction workers

Roadway construction zones are dangerous, and not just for the people who work there. In fact, drivers are the most frequent fatality in work zone crashes. Over the last five years, more than 4,400 people died in work zone crashes in the U.S., and 85 percent of them were drivers or passengers.

Drivers must stay attentive to safely navigate the barrels, signs, and lane changes that are common in work zones. Being safe in a work zone means paying attention to three S’s: Speed, Stress, and Space.

Speed

Slow down as soon as you see road construction signs. You’ll be in the work zone sooner than you think.
Follow posted speed limits, and don’t ramp back up to normal speed until you see road signs indicating it’s safe to do so.

Stress
Expect delays. Plan ahead and give yourself extra time to get where you’re going.
Manage your stress. Keep your cool. If someone is tailgating you, flash your headlights on and off (to illuminate your tail lights), or lightly tap on your brakes. If safe, pull over and let them pass.

Space
Leave a safety zone. When stopped in traffic, leave a cushion between you and the car in front of you. As a good rule of thumb, you should be able to see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front of you.
Stay alert. Watch traffic around you and be prepared to react. (Be disciplined and don’t let yourself gawk at stopped cars or construction work.)
Expect the unexpected in case workers or work vehicles enter your lane without warning.

Everyone needs to take responsibility for work zone safety. Your work crews and highway departments are working hard to create safe conditions. Do your part and stay alert.

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