While those orange barrels may be frustrating during rush hour, take a moment during National Work Zone Awareness Week to consider those people working in those potentially dangerous areas. From April 8-12, this year’s theme is “Drive Like You Work Here.”
In 2017, there were 710 fatal crashes in work zones, resulting in 799 fatalities. Of those deaths, 132 were roadway workers, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
Plus, in 2016, there were 158,000 work zone crashes that resulted in 61,000 injuries.
On average, in 2015 a work zone crash occurred once every 5.4 minutes, and every week 12 work zone crashes resulted in at least one fatality.
So what can you do to help make work zones safer?
On Wednesday, April 10, everyone is encouraged to wear orange on Go Orange Day to help raise awareness for work zone safety. If you post on social media, be sure to use the hashtags #WorkZoneSafety #NWZAW #OurRoads.
When you’re out on the road, remember these tips from the Federal Highway Administration:
- Plan ahead. Expect delays, plan for them, and leave early to reach your destination on time. When you can, avoid work zones altogether by using alternate routes.
- Obey road crews and signs. When approaching a work zone, watch for cones, barrels, signs, large vehicles, or workers in bright-colored vests to warn you and direct you where to go.
- Slow down. Look for signs indicating the speed limit through the work zone. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you and follow the posted speed limit.
- Move over. Most state move-over laws apply when passing work crews and official vehicles parked on the shoulder with flashing warning lights.
- Avoid distractions. Keep your eyes on the road and off your phone.
- Watch for sudden stoppages. In 2017, 25 percent of fatal work zone crashes involved rear-end collisions.
- Watch for large vehicles. Don’t make sudden lane changes in front of trucks that are trying to slow down. In 2017, 50 percent of fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks or buses occurred on rural roadways. Between 2013 and 2017, fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks increased by 43 percent.