Safety in Construction Zones
The goal of road construction is to keep traffic moving and maintain normal speeds when possible, while at the same time keeping work crews safe. In recent years, fines have doubled, work zone speeds have been adjusted, and enforcement efforts have increased. More construction means better roads, but also more work zones and potential accidents.
Every year in Michigan there are more than 5,000 work zone crashes, resulting in approximately 1,200 injuries and 17 deaths. Motorists are injured and killed more often than workers. While we are doing what we can to make our work zones safer and more user-friendly, drivers must also do their part by adhering to the following:
- Slow down and pay attention!
- Neon orange signs are an indication to slow down. This is not the time to use the cellular phone, change radio stations, eat or drink.
- Avoid complacency during long-term construction projects.
- Keep calm. Work zones mean improved roads and aren't meant to inconvenience anyone.
- Heed warning signs and symbols and flaggers. Be prepared to slow down or stop.
- Slow down when signs first indicate. At 60 M.P.H. it takes 17 seconds to travel 1500 feet. Use lower speeds to decrease risk.
- Merge into the proper lane well before reaching the work zone.
- Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers.
- Follow other vehicles at a safe distance.
- If you are behind a construction vehicle and you can't see its mirrors, then its driver can't see you.
- Some work zones are mobile. Just because you can't immediately see workers, doesn't mean they aren't there (line painting, patching, mowing).
- Take an alternate route if possible, travel during non-peak traffic hours, or share a ride to reduce congestion in work zones.
- Expect and plan for delays. It is better to show up late than not at all.
- Be a courteous and defensive driver.