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Don’t Let Spring Be a Roadblock on Your Travels

- April 4, 2017 by Dan Heinen, ASP (View all posts by Dan)

With winter fading away, we experience the start of a new season – road construction season. This is usually designated by the sudden emergence of orange barrels that appear overnight out of nowhere. These barrels are usually accompanied by signs directing us to “Slow Down,” “Right Lane Closed,” or “Speed Limit Reduced Ahead” (just to mention a few). We may also find ourselves out on the road more often with weather permitting to visit, customers and clients without worrying so much about harsh winter weather conditions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2003-2010 there were more than 7,000 deaths were reported at road construction sites, with 962 being workers. Nearly half of the workers killed were due to being struck by a vehicle or piece of mobile equipment. By using common sense, courtesy, and modern technology it is quite easy to avoid adding to, or being one of these numbers.

Here are some safety tips to take under consideration:

  • Avoid construction zones. If possible, and you know a work zone is on your route many GPS devices have a detour setting you can use to route you around these areas.  Google maps show where construction is taking place.
  • Use designated Department of Transportation alternative routes. These also take you around the construction and are often a quicker way to travel.
  • Avoid distractions.  Put your drink or snack down and pay attention to your surroundings. Be on the lookout for sudden lane changes or merging construction traffic.
  • Don’t be “That Guy or Gal”. If it says lane closed ahead, MOVE OVER! Don’t be that person that speeds up and cut people off at the last minute. Often it will take longer to find a considerate driver to let you in than if you just moved over ahead of time.
  • Obey posted speed limits. Fines are higher in work zones and many states have mandatory jail time if you injure a worker due to speeding or other negligence.
  • Leave earlier than normal. If you have to drive through a work zone give yourself plenty of time so you won’t feel rushed. Contact your appointment ahead of time and let them know, “Hey I may be a few minutes late due to construction.” It is not only professional but can help ease your mind knowing you don’t have to rush to be on time.
  • If you are traveling into an area you may not be familiar with, ask your customer when setting up your appointment if road work is going on. I’ve told customer where I’ll be coming from and had them tell me to avoid a certain route because of construction. If they know the area and a better route might be best to take their advice!
  • Road Rage. Just don’t. Everyone wants to get to their location as quick as possible and everyone’s trip is more important than anyone else’s.  We all get frustrated when traffic slows, we all want to get home or work but it’s not worth playing bumper cars and adding to the situation. If they are in that big of a hurry, let them. Things have a way of balancing out.

Do you have any safety driving tips to share? Let us know by leaving a comment below.