Safety is an important consideration when driving through construction zones. Drivers should prepare to be extra vigilant to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of their passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and the road construction work crew. Learn more about work zone safety from the Macomb County Department of Roads.
According to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), there were more than 5,800 work zone crashes in 2019. With a large road project such as Innovate Mound, this is imperative to keep in mind.
Here are a few other work zone crash facts from MDOT:
- Speeding causes the most fatalities in work zone crashes
- Majority of crashes come from distracted drivers
- Daytime is the most common time for crashes
- Rear-end crashes are the most likely type of incident
So what can you do to help keep the people near you safe during road construction? Here are a few:
When you’re commuting every day, it’s easy to become used to doing certain things while driving that can be distracting. While it’s common knowledge now that drivers should not text and drive, the temptation is still there. Besides texting, there are many other distractions that can take your attention off the road.
Follow these tips to avoid distractions, and keep road crew and others around you safe:
- Put your phone away or on silent. While you may know that you shouldn’t text and drive, if your phone rings or vibrates while you are driving, it can be difficult not to glance at it. That two second distraction is enough to cause an accident.
- Avoid eating while in a work zone. You may have mastered one-handed driving while eating, wait until you are past the construction zone to dive into those French fries.
- Turn down your radio. Sure, listening to music or an audio book can help pass the time while driving. But making sure you can hear any horn blasts or alerts when in a work zone is important.
- Ask your fellow passengers to keep an eye out for safety instead of engaging in a serious conversation. While you don’t have to remain mute in a work zone, conversing too deeply can be a distraction.
Those road work signs aren’t just for show. Lowered speed limits in construction zones help keep drivers and workers safe. This is why traffic fines and penalties are more severe in these areas for those who break the rules. Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone, and there can be a penalty of up to $7,500 and 15 years in prison for injuring or killing a construction worker.
Here are some important things to remember:
- Signs are posted in plenty of time for you to speed down or merge where necessary. Don’t wait until the last minute.
- Don’t tailgate. Everyone must slow down in a work zone, so driving close to the car in front of you will not make it go faster. The only thing it will accomplish is make it harder for you to see their taillights or make a stop without rear-ending them.
- Watch for brake lights and pay attention to other drivers.
When you are in a work zone, be prepared for speed reductions, lane closures, and traffic delays. Sometimes driver irritation can be a distraction itself.
It’s also important to expect that other drivers will not be vigilant at times, so be extra cautious for someone swerving into your lane or making sudden stops.
While you can’t control the behavior of other drivers or make them be more cautious, you can control yours. Taking extra care within a work zone helps drivers, workers and pedestrians all stay safe during construction.