No one wants to take longer than necessary to get where they are going. Unfortunately, that means that road construction workers (and drivers) are at risk as they navigate their way through work zones. Between 2016 – 2017, fatal crashes in work zones increased by 3% nationally, and according to the Kentucky State Police, there were 1,045 roadway construction crashes in Kentucky in 2018 and 1,251 in 2019, (a 20% increase). This included 8 fatalities, and much unnecessary suffering (not to mention speeding fines that doubled in work zones).
You would think that drivers would be hyper-aware of construction work zones; they are easy to spot. Through flashing signs, markers, cones, flaggers, or barricades — and sometimes a combination of all of these — road workers attempt to warn and inform the public that it is time to slow down and pay close attention. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds those warnings.
9 Simple Tips for Preventing Car Accidents in Construction Work Zones:
- Tip #1: Sometimes it is possible to plan ahead and take detours to avoid the situation altogether. Try GoKY for traffic alerts, construction activity, and roadway weather conditions. Some phone apps, such as waze now are able to warn drivers if construction work is taking place on their planned route.
- Tip #2: The most obvious piece of advice is to slow down. Pay attention to posted reduced speed limits and slow down gradually so that you don’t have to slam on the brakes suddenly.
- Tip #3: Never tailgate! Be aware of the vehicle in front of you — that driver may not be as proficient at noticing upcoming work zones as you are and may suddenly reduce their speed. You can avoid a rear-end collision by making sure to leave a reasonable space between your cars.
- Tip #4: Pay attention to the cars on either side of you as well. Don’t leave it until the last second to merge. Also, if you can safely let someone merge (that other guy who didn’t notice the lane closure signs), do it. You appreciate it when someone allows you to merge, don’t you? Be nice!
- Tip #5: Avoid distracted driving. This means that you should avoid heated arguments, tap dancing, three-course meals, crossword puzzles, and basically ANY activity that causes you to remove your eyes from the road and lose your focus.
- Tip #6: Do not text and drive or email and drive. Yes, this technically comes under the aegis of distracted driving, but it is so serious and commonplace that it deserves its own tip. In 2018, 1,014 crashes occurred in KY as a direct result of the driver using a cell phone at the time.
- Tip #7: Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including certain prescription drugs. About 1 in 3 traffic deaths in the United States involve an intoxicateddriver, and 2,041 people were killed in crashes involving intoxicated drivers in Kentucky between 2003 and 2012.
- Tip #8: Pay close attention to construction workers and flaggers. They are not obstacles in a video game — they are human beings with families. Between 2011-2015, an average of 122 workers lost their lives annually in construction zone accidents. It doesn’t have to be this way.
- Tip #9: Buckle up! Seat belts saved over 15,000 lives in 2017, according to the CDC. In Kentucky, 84% of drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, just under the national average of 86%. Why put yourself at increased risk by not wearing a seatbelt?
Coming soon: National Work Zone Awareness Week 2021
Drive Safe. Work safe. Save lives.
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