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Tips for Driving Safely in a Work Zone

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  • Expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people and vehicles may be working on or near the road.

  • Stay alert. Diamond-shaped orange warning signs are generally posted in advance of road maintenance/construction projects. Pay attention to the signs!

  • Watch for flaggers. In addition to other warning signs, a "flagger ahead" warning sign may be posted in the work zone. When you see this, stay alert and be prepared to obey the flagger's directions. In a work zone, a flagger has the same authority as a road sign, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.

  • Stay calm. Work zones aren't there to personally inconvenience you. They're necessary to improve the roads for everyone.

  • Merge as soon as possible. You may see flashing arrow panels or "lane closed ahead" signs. Don't zoom right up to the lane closure, and then try to barge in. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by moving to the appropriate lane at first notice of an approaching work zone.

  • Don't speed. A car traveling 60 MPH, travels 88 feet per second. If you're going 60 MPH and you pass a sign that says "Road Work 1500 feet," you'll be in that work zone in 17 seconds.

  • Don't tailgate. The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision, so remember to leave two seconds of braking distance between you and the car in front of you. The amount of space needed for two seconds of stopping time will increase the faster you're driving!

  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers. Just like you, highway workers want to return home safely.

  • Observe posted signs. Some work zones are mobile. For example: line painting, road patching, mowing. They move down the road as the work is completed. Just because you don't see the workers immediately after you see the warning signs doesn't mean, that they're not out there. Observe the signs until you see the one that says you've left the work zone.

  • Be patient. Expect delays, plan for them and leave early to reach your destination on time. Highway agencies use many different ways to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. Often a detour may help you avoid the work zone altogether.