5 Tips for Construction Zone Safety
Though summer is pretty much gone here in Northwest Ohio, there is still plenty of warm weather ahead of us. This means that our old friend, Mr. Construction Zone, is going to stick around for a while. Construction zones and slowed traffic—either on the highway or city roads—can be frustrating, especially if you’re in a hurry. However, it’s extremely important to follow proper safety protocol and laws when passing through these zones, as there is a lot more at stake than you being late for work. Here are a five tips to keep you and others safe when driving through construction zones.
Signs, Signs, Everywhere the Signs…
Preparation and attention are paramount when you’re driving, and staying aware can help you spot warning signs that construction zones are approaching. In Ohio and just about any state, law requires the presence of signs for stretches of road to be considered official construction zones, so expect to see those bright orange signs where there is work to be done. When you do see a sign, take note of what it says, as it can warn you about stopped traffic, lower speed limits, workers present or lane changes ahead. Also, keep an eye out for the flashing ‘arrow’ signifying an upcoming lane change, so you don’t have to wait until the last second and possibly cut someone off trying to change lanes.
Slow Down, Speedy!
This is a really simple one. When you travel through construction zones at excessive speeds, you are asking for trouble. The least worrisome outcome is you get a speeding ticket, but not just any speeding ticket: In Ohio and many other states, fines are doubled if you’re caught speeding in a construction zone. Some states stipulate that workers must be present or signs must be posted, but the concept remains the same—don’t speed, or you’re going to pay a lot of money. Now, here’s a more worrisome scenario: You cause an accident or strike a worker. The punishment for this depends on the severity and injuries/deaths involved, but none of it’s good for anyone involved. Bottom line: If you hit a worker in a construction zone, expect to go to prison for a long time.
I get it. Some of us, myself included, get curious from time to time, even about things that are seemingly mundane, such as a construction project. Maybe you do have an interest in engineering and construction, or that little kid in you suddenly longs for the days when you played with dump trucks in the mud. Whatever the case, there may be temptation to check out what’s going on while you’re passing through a construction zone. It’s natural to be curious, but
you’ve got to keep some of that in check while driving. When your eyes wander off the path in front of you, you put yourself and others at risk. Watch the road, and check out state reports online—when you’re not driving—if you really want some info on current projects.
Obey the Flagger
This is another simple one but nonetheless important. Sometimes, construction projects require workers to funnel traffic into one or two lanes, meaning one lane crosses over into the opposite direction’s lane. When this occurs, a worker must flag traffic through or stop it to make sure cars don’t meet in opposite directions. Generally, the worker literally has a flag in hand or sometimes a ‘STOP’/’SLOW’ sign. Hopefully, you know better than to disobey this flagger just because you’re in a hurry. More likely, if one were to miss a flagger, it’s due to not paying attention. Thus, be aware, be alert, and obey the flagger.
Keep Calm and Carry On
We certainly don’t want to tell you how to feel, and we understand that frustration happens when construction zones slow us down. However, to be in the best state of mind to follow the above tips and guidelines, it’s important to stay calm and not get upset. When you become excessively impatient or physically agitated, your attention and reactions are compromised.
May you reach your destinations safely!