The annual “Work Zone Awareness Week” begun in 1999, was held this year from April 23 -27. The program is designed to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety in work zones. This year’s theme is Don’t Barrel Through Work Zones! Drive Smart to Arrive Alive. Work zones account for an average of 700 fatalities each year, 85% of them being motorists and passengers, and 15% are the people working in a zone. There are multiple hazards limo drivers will face driving through the increasing number of work zones the warmer weather brings, especially when you are driving an oversized vehicle.
Your best driving defense in a work zone is to slow down and focus on your driving. The most common crash in a work zone is a rear-end collision, so leave at least 6 seconds of space between you and the vehicle ahead, and even more space when road conditions deteriorate with bad weather or rough surfaces. Give yourself space to move in case anything goes wrong, especially in stop and go traffic with fewer lanes to maneuver. Stay in your lane, obey the posted speed limit and remember, fines are often doubled in work zones.
Nighttime Safety Issues
Night work zones are increasingly common because authorities prefer to avoid lane closures and congestion during peak daytime traffic. However, with less overall traffic at night, drivers tend to go faster. Speed and darkness are the main reasons why 55% of work zone fatalities occur at night and crash rates increase by 65%. Darkness makes visibility poorer even with lighting towers, warning lights and reflective worker clothing
turning night into day. Drivers are more likely to be fatigued or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs so stay alert.
Watch Out And Plan Ahead!
As you approach the warnings of a work zone ahead, merge as soon as possible to avoid forcing your vehicle into the traffic flow. Once you’re in the zone, if traffic merges into fewer lanes, use caution and courtesy to reduce the chance of a sideswipe. The worst of all merges is when a vehicle at a full stop in one lane attempts to move directly into a lane where the traffic is moving. The front wheels of a stopped vehicle turning toward the lane that is moving could signal that the vehicle will try to merge. Reduce your speed and keep your distance. Continuously scan the work zone and watch traffic, the workers, traffic flaggers and any moving equipment. Keep headlights on, wear your seat belt and always be prepared to stop. Relax and take your time getting through the congestion. Before you leave on your trip, check various state DOT web sites to see if there are work zones along your route. If you think you might be delayed, plan a different route or leave earlier to reach your destination. Staying alert and aware of what’s happening around you will help you safely navigate these congested areas.