As we head into spring and draw closer to the summer months, you’ll likely see an increase in construction on residential roads and highways. In order to avoid a potential car accident, it’s important to be aware of how to safely navigate construction zones. Let’s take a look at these five driving tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.
1) Stay Alert
When you’re driving the same route you take on a daily basis, it’s easy to zone out and not pay attention to what’s happening around you. When a construction zone seems to pop up out of nowhere, you may be startled and unaware of what’s going on and what you, as a driver, need to do.
It’s crucial to pay attention to your surroundings and keep an eye out for construction signs, flaggers, construction vehicles, and other road workers. To stay alert, dedicate your full attention to the road and avoid checking your cell phone, changing the radio, eating, or doing any other activities that take your eyes away from the road in front of you and vehicles around you.
2) Merge Properly
When a two-lane or multi-lane highway is being repaired, there are usually signs indicating what you need to do as you approach the construction zone. You may be informed of certain lane closures or which direction to merge. Once you know what you’re doing, you need to ensure you merge well before you reach the lane closure. This will ensure you don’t run out of time and end up off the road or striking another vehicle. When merging, be aware of those around you and only do so when it’s safe. Make sure your intentions are clear by using your turn signal or blinker.
It’s also important to note that road signs can change daily—especially if the roadwork is ongoing. This is why it’s crucial to be aware that traffic patterns are likely to change, so always be on the lookout for those indicators.
3) Obey the Speed Limit
Whether you’re expecting traffic or not, we know that construction can seem frustrating. It’s important to remain calm and follow the signs you see. It’s more than likely the speed limit in the construction zone will be lowered. This is for your safety, as well as the workers outside. If you try to speed through a construction zone, you’re not only at risk for high fines and possible points on your license—you’re also putting lives at risk.
If you’re driving in a construction zone that seems empty, it’s still important to slow down and obey the speed limit. Even if it’s a weekend and you think work isn’t taking place, you have no way of knowing if workers are just setting up or tearing down.
4) Listen to Flaggers
While you may see flaggers on highways, you’re more likely to see these individuals on residential and local roads when construction is taking place downtown or in a neighborhood. It’s important to follow any instructions you receive from the flagger, as it’s their job to stop and direct traffic in work zones.
Even if you’re getting frustrated with a traffic delay, remember that work zone crew members are working to improve road conditions and make your future driver safer. If you’re disrespectful or negligent, you could put their lives in danger.
5) Plan Ahead
While you can’t always plan ahead for construction, take a look online to see where local work is happening. If you see roadwork is happening on your commute, consider going a different way or leaving earlier. This way, you won’t be in a rush and you won’t be compelled to break the law to get to where you’re going faster.
Highway agencies use a number of different methods to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. If you’re uncertain about how best to handle a situation, your agency may be able to suggest a detour to help you avoid the construction zone entirely.
While you can look up traffic and road closure via your state’s Department of Transportation website, the Federal Highway Administration also has a platform that links to national road closure resources.
Have You Been Injured in an Accident?
Even when you follow safe driving practices in construction zones, you don’t have control of the vehicles around you. In the event you believe a driver has caused your accident and you’ve been injured, you may be able to pursue an accident claim. Thomas Law Offices can help. Contact us today for more information.