The I-10 Go Project. We all know about it and the never-ending construction zones, exit closings, and traffic slow- downs in and around I-10. In fact, latest estimates say the project won’t be completed for at least another year! However, do you know the proper way to drive in a construction zone? The following are what you need to know for construction zone safety.
Unfortunately, many drivers are hurt and injured in construction zone accidents every day as a result of not following some important construction zone safety tips. Any time you enter a construction zone, it’s important to increase your following distance between yourself and the car in front. Ideally, you should have between two and three car lengths between you and the car in front of you, which will give you adequate time to stop if needed. Abrupt stops are common in construction zones, be aware, so that you can avoid a rear-ending accident. Also, increase your following distance even more in bad weather conditions.
Likely, you’ll see signs for a reduced speed limit through a construction zone; in some cases, the posted speed may be even lower if workers are present. Even if you don’t see any obvious construction workers, it’s still important that you obey the posted speed limit signs. Never assume that just because you don’t see workers right now, that they won’t be working a little ways up the road, or that the speed limit doesn’t apply. Not only will speeding in a construction zone put workers at risk, but you could also receive a hefty fine for doing so if you’re caught by the police.
Sometimes, “flaggers” will be posted in construction zones (especially in residential areas) to help direct traffic around the work area. Usually, if this is the case, there will be signs posted that read “flagger ahead” or something similar. Always obey instructions from flaggers and assume that their instructions overrule any other traffic signs or signals. Also, be on the lookout for flaggers’ signals, such as an extended palm indicating that you need to stop. Be sure to also reduce your speed and be especially aware of your surroundings.
Distraction-free driving should always be a priority when behind the wheel, but even more so in a construction zone. When you enter a construction zone or see that one is approaching, turn down (or turn off) your radio, end any cell phone calls, and keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Finally, lane closures and freeway exit closures are the most common causes of accidents and driver road rage in construction zones. When you see a sign posted for an upcoming lane closure, be sure to merge as soon as safely possible into the open lane. Do not wait until the lane is coming to an end to force your way over into an open lane. This is not only rude to the other drivers who followed the posted signs and merged when they were supposed to, but it can also be dangerous if you cut somebody off or even cause a road rage incident. Construction zones can be frustrating and dangerous to navigate, but all drivers have a responsibility to keep themselves and other drivers safe while behind the wheel.
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