In 2012, throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia, there were 609 fatalities occurring within work zones, including 130 workers killed while on the job. The latest statistics show that speeding was a factor in more than 35% of all fatal work zone crashes and drivers need to understand why they need to slow down and pay attention during this season of road construction and repair.
As a professional chauffeur, be very mindful that when you are driving a larger vehicle, the tight conditions of work zones require that you pay close attention to your speed and the space around your vehicle. The most common crash in a work zone is a rear-ender, so leave 6 or more 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 drive 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 construction lights and reflective worker clothing. And night drivers are more likely to be fatigued or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so stay alert and stay away.
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 in which 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. Relax and take your time getting through the congestion. Before you leave on a trip, check various state DOT websites to check 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.
And remember, SLOW DOWN!