No one likes slow traffic, but that’s exactly what we get in a work zone.
What’s important to remember is that traffic is slowing down for a good reason – the safety of those on the job and those driving through the area. So, when I reach a work zone, I won’t be happy about the delay but I will put on the brakes, pay close attention to my surroundings, and slowly make my way through.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), nearly 100,000 collisions occurred in work zones in 2015 nationwide. That’s approximately 275 per day, 70 of which result in at least one injury.
Speed is probably the number one factor in work zone accidents. Distracted driving (cell phone use, eating, talking with passengers, etc) is a close second. And, it’s not just the construction workers in danger. In fact, 85 percent of those killed in a work zone accident nationwide are drivers or passengers.
To help call attention to the problem of work zone accidents, our nation observes National Work Zone Awareness week this week. This year’s theme, “Everybody’s Responsibility” reminds those of us driving through these areas that we have a role in protecting those who work to improve our roads.
The FHA has several reminders for us during this week. Those include:
- Slow down when approaching and driving through a work zone (or as Caltrans puts it, “Slow for the cone zone.”
- Expect the unexpected as the work zone you drove through yesterday may be set up different today.
- Pay attention to other drivers.
- Avoid distractions such as cell phone use or even conversing with other passengers.
- Avoid tailgating.
- Be patient and stay calm.
National Work Zone Awareness Week is a good time to remind ourselves to drive safely through work zones. But the FHA, Caltrans, and other transportation agencies also urge us to follow these suggestions for the rest of the year too.
Yes, slow traffic is annoying. When we encounter a delay, it’s easy to get frustrated and look for ways around the delay. But instead, if we motorists work together we help keep ourselves and the road workers safe. This way everyone gets home safely and we’ll soon have smoother roads to ride on.