It’s officially summer! If you’re planning a trip to the beach or mountains this summer, keep in mind that you may run into some road construction along your trip. Here are a few work zone construction safety tips to ensure your safety and the safety workers in any work site you might be driving through.
1. Limit Distraction
The first and most important tip is to dedicate your full attention to the roadway when entering, driving through and exiting a construction work zone. During this time you should consider ending your phone call, turning down or off the radio, and putting down the snack. Take measures to ensure you avoid anything that can be distracting.
2. Turn on Headlights
A tip that many people might not think about is turning on your headlights (even during the day). This extra safety step helps your fellow car travelers as well as traffic construction workers to see you. More visibility is always a good thing.
3. Pay Attention to Road Signs
It’s important to read and follow the road signs in a construction zone. Very often there are new traffic patterns in construction zones that road signs will warn you about ahead of time. Traffic lanes may be closed, narrowed, or shifted. There are also different speed limits in construction zones which differs depending on location and type of zone. If you frequently drive through the same construction zone heading to work or home, keep in mind that traffic patterns can change daily, so continue watching for different road signs directing you and your vehicle.
4. Two-Second Rule
Leave ample space between you and the car in front of you. Generally, a good rule of thumb is the use the two-second rule (the driver should stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle that is directly in front of them). If you find yourself in a very congested, or confusing construction zone you could leave even more space between you and the car in front of you as an added safety measure.
5. Research Before You Go
Before hitting the road you can research if there are any road closures or delays from the weather or construction by calling 5-1-1. You can also check your local TV and radio stations for traffic information, closures and schedules. Additionally, most GPS’s now show delays, accidents, and construction zones along your route.
6. Expect the Delay
If you know that you’ll be driving through a construction zone, plan for delays and give yourself extra travel time. It’s never safe to rush through a construction zone. Not only are you risking your life and the lives of the workers around you, but you’re also risking significant traffic fines and even jail time. It’s better to leave early and give yourself some extra time.
7. Merge Early
If you see a lane closure, make sure to merge well in advance. Many accidents happen because a car has to pause or stop to let someone in who is stuck at the end of a lane trying to merge.
8. Flagger Safety
In the event of a temporary lane closure or change, a flagger (or road construction worker) may be used to stop and direct traffic using signs and/or just their hands. Sometimes a flagger may be giving you directions that aren’t in alignment with what the road signs suggest, so make sure to pay close attention to their directions.
9. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
When driving through a construction zone, there may we workers or work vehicles entering and exiting traffic without any warning. Because of this, your fellow car travelers may stop, slow down or switch lanes unexpectedly. This is another reason that your full attention is required during construction zones, don’t be caught off guard!
During this high traffic season, make sure to do everything you can to stay safe on the roadways by adhering to the above construction work zone safety tips.
For other traffic control safety tips and information from Bird Dog Traffic Control, visit our blog!