Nobody ever says, “Oh, goody! I’m so excited to see road barricades near me!” Road barricades mean a temporary road closure, often due to construction. This is not only inconvenient but dangerous. Accidents in work zones cause hundreds of fatalities in the United States every year involving both road workers and motorists.
Driving in a construction zone is sometimes unavoidable. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help keep yourself and those around you safe.
- Follow Instructions
Because of the unusually hazardous conditions posed by road work, the construction company provides instructions on how to proceed safely through the zone. There may be flaggers in the zones or signs posted informing you of decreased speed limits. Whether the instructions come from a sign or a flagger, do what they say.
- Increase Following Distance
In a construction zone, you may have to stop suddenly to avoid a worker or another hazard. To be sure you have enough room to stop, you should put more space between you and the cars around you than you ordinarily would. A distance of approximately two to three car lengths should be sufficient to avoid rear-ending the car in front of you if it stops abruptly.
- Minimize Distractions
If something dangerous happens in a construction zone, e.g., a car stops suddenly or a worker steps out in front of you, you may only have a few seconds to respond to avoid an accident. While minimizing distractions while driving is always important to the prevention of car accidents, it is even more crucial in a construction zone. That not only means avoiding cell phone use, but it also means turning the radio off and possibly avoiding any conversations in the car until you are out of the construction zone.
Once the construction zone comes to an end, merge carefully and promptly. Pay careful attention as this is a site of frequent work zone accidents. Once you are free of the construction, you can continue on your way as you were before.