ON THE ROADS
An average of 93 people died each day in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 - one every 16 minutes. In 2009, the most recent year for which data are available, 667 workers and motorists were killed in highway work zones (down from 720 in 2008) and more than 40,000 were injured, according to the Federal Highway Authority. Approximately 85 percent of those killed in work zones are drivers or their passengers. Read about road safety tips and what to do if your vehicle breaks down.
Road construction and maintenance are necessary undertakings that keep roads safe and enhance our mobility in the long-run. With stimulus money coming from Washington, D.C., for these types of projects flowing into our various states’ Departments of Transportation, road construction and maintenance will become even more ubiquitous. This means motorists have an even greater responsibility to drive safely in work zones. Follow these AAA tips to keep those in vehicles and those working on the roads safe:
To learn more or schedule a presentation, contact the Traffic Safety Lead in your state.
Motorists are encouraged to check for planned work zone delays and traffic advisories and allot extra travel time prior to departing for their trip. Travelers may use AAA’s online TripTik® Travel Planner to create maps and get turn-by-turn directions. TripTik® Travel Planner identifies longer-term construction areas and delivers advisory messages for such things as areas of historic congestion. Travelers are encouraged to visit state and local department of transportation websites for the latest road travel information and plan alternative routes to their destinations as needed. For on-the-go use, the routing feature in AAA’s free TripTik Mobile app assists motorists to navigate a new route.
For the safety of all drivers and construction workers, normal posted speed limits are often reduced in work zones. Most states double fines for speeding in work zones when workers are present. Drivers should not underestimate the speed at which they’re traveling before beginning to slow down; it can take longer than a driver may think to reduce a vehicle’s speed enough to safety enter the work zone area. Motorists, while keeping consistent with the flow of traffic, should maintain a safe distance between vehicles ahead, traffic barriers, construction workers and equipment.
As with any driving situation, minimize interior and exterior distractions. Motorists should obey the directions of any police officer, firefighter or road crew flagger and follow all posted work zone advisories and signage. Temporary work zone signs are orange and commonly diamond-shaped. Construction zones may contain unusual vehicles or machinery that can divert a driver’s attention as well as traffic cones, barrels, flashing lights and concrete barriers. Drivers should be prepared to stop, slow down, shift lanes, merge and yield to the movement of construction workers and equipment. Motorists should not turn off their vehicles when stopped on the roadway unless they will be idling for a significant period of time.
Additional Work-zone Safety Links: