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Mention “work-zone safety” and you probably think about protecting the men and women who build, fix and maintain our roads and highways.
Tragically, about 100 workers die as a result of work-zone crashes every year.
What you might not think of is the number of drivers and passengers also killed in work-zone crashes: about 400 every year. That’s more than 80 percent of work-zone collision fatalities.
While the majority of work-zone crashes are preventable, the number is on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration factors such as exceeding the posted speed limit, driver impatience and traffic congestion contribute to more crashes, more deaths and more injuries.
With National Work-Zone Safety Awareness Week underway, ADOT urges all drivers to use extra caution and consideration in work zones and remember these safe-driving tips:
- Slow down. Speeding is among the major causes of work-zone crashes.
- Pay attention. Warning signs, directional signs and flaggers are in place to guide you through the work zone safely, so read and obey them. Using a handheld device while driving is never a good idea - especially in work zones. Minimize other distractions that can take your eyes, ears and attention off the road.
- Expect out-of-the-ordinary road conditions. Be ready for lower speed limits, lane restrictions, detours and lots of activity involving workers and equipment next to travel lanes.
- Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of work-zone crashes. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and construction equipment and crews as well.
- Obey road crew flaggers. Not only does the flagger have information to guide motorists through the work zone safely, but he or she has the same authority as a regulatory sign. Ignore a flagger and you could be cited. Even worse, you could be involved in a serious crash.
- Don’t cut in line ... or try to keep other drivers out. When lanes are narrowed, merge as soon as the signs direct you to do so. Drivers who wait until the last minute to merge (and cut off other drivers) disrupt traffic flow and slow down the commute for everyone. If you’re already in the open travel lane, be considerate and allow other drivers to merge in early.
- Check road conditions and plan accordingly. Schedule enough time to drive safely. By adding a few extra minutes to your commute, you’ll make up for possible work-zone delays. Check for traffic information in advance by calling 511 or by logging on to AZ511.com. Never call or log onto the 511 system while driving!
- Be patient and stay calm. Remember: Road crews are working to improve the roadway and your commute.