Risk Management

Risk Management

Don’t Turn Construction Zones into Destruction Zones

It’s said that Minnesota’s seasons are winter, winter, winter, and road construction. Now that “road construction season” is here, it’s a good time for a work zone safe driving refresher.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood summed it up nicely when he said, “It’s critical for drivers to slow down, look for changes in traffic patterns, and watch for the men and women who are working to improve our nation’s highways and bridges.” After all, road construction is ultimately for your benefit.

Obey the posted construction zone speed limit.
Expect the unexpected, including obstacles, debris, and irritable, confused, or aggressive drivers.
Pay attention to warning and caution signs well before entering the construction zone.
Allow plenty of distance between you and the car in front and watch for slow or stopped traffic. Most work zone accidents are rear end collisions.1
Avoid distractions. Construction areas can be full of surprises, and any type of distraction doesn’t allow you to react quickly if needed.
Stay in your lane. Don’t try to pass on the right.
Watch for equipment and workers.
Allow yourself some extra driving time. If you’re not running late, frustration is less likely to affect your driving.
Finally, it may just be easier to avoid the construction area altogether. If possible, select an alternate route. It might take you longer, but you’ll probably save yourself some frustration and aggravation, and maybe even the misery of an accident.

1National Motorists Association, http://www.motorists.org/press/dispelling-construction-zone-myths, May 2010