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Traffic Safety
Guide

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  • Traffic Safety
  • Airport Supply
 
 
         

Road Construction

The performance of our road systems affects a lot more than just our daily commute. When a new road construction project begins, we must consider environmental resource consumption, air quality, land use, urban growth, and, of course, driver safety. These projects go through an extensive planning process before the first orange barrels are ever rolled out, but when construction begins it will take cooperation from motorists and road workers to ensure everyone's safety.
 

The Construction Process

When a new project is initiated, it requires strategies for operating, managing, and maintaining the area, and a plan for securing finances. Proposals for new roads or repairs to old ones will first go through a detailed analysis of the area to determine
if it is actually needed or beneficial. This will involve monitoring the current
conditions and predicting the population and employment growth.

The analysis will also have to identify any likely transportation problems and
determine whether or not they need to be addressed immediately. Then, before
the project gets final approval, it must also account for the long and
short-range goals of the transportation system and report on how these
improvements will impact things like air quality and other environmental features.
 
The funding for these projects most often comes from a wide range of sources, including state and federal governments, public or private tolls, local fund contributions, and more. Federal funding is generally the biggest source for these projects, though, and the individual state Departments of Transportation will allocate the money as needed.  

What Drivers Face in Construction Zones

When drivers enter construction zones, they immediately face a number of conditions that make driving more dangerous. Active and inactive construction sites have little to no shoulder or median areas and lanes are often reduced in width. Merge lanes may also be reduced, and there are often detours through unfamiliar areas. Any large vehicles on the side of the road can obscure visibility, and changing lane patterns may come as a surprise.

Some of the problems, though, don't have anything to do with road conditions. Construction zones seem to bring out the worst in aggressive drivers, and they may start to cause problems as they merge at high speeds, tailgate other vehicles, or hit their brakes too fast.
 

Avoiding collisions

While there is danger to both drivers and construction workers in these areas, the majority of people killed in highway work zone crashes are the ones in the vehicles. By taking some precautions and always staying alert you can avoid most collisions and make it home safe.

 

Keep your distance

The most common crash in a work zone is a rear-end collision. Leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles.
 

Plan your route

When construction season starts, use the Internet or other resources to find out where work is happening and how you can avoid it.

 

Expect delays

Give yourself extra time. Understand that it may take a little longer to get where you're going.

 

No speeding

The biggest factor in construction zone accidents is speeding. Traffic is stop-and-go, detours and lane changes could happen
any time, and road workers are nearby. Slow down and drive smart.
 

Avoid distractions

Just because traffic is moving at a crawl doesn't make it okay to start texting your friends. Stay alert and pay attention to the road.

 

Stay calm and be patient

Losing your cool will only cause more problems than it solves. You will reach the end of the congestion sooner or later. Take a deep breath and stay calm.

 

Obeying Road Construction Signs

Orange is the color of construction. The signs and traffic control devices in work zones are a bright orange because these areas are considered dangerous enough to warrant a color that really stands out. Even so, a lot of drivers do not pay attention to these signs (or are going too fast to read them).

Road construction signs, traffic directions, and caution signals can change periodically in a construction zone. If you're distracted, or you tend to disregard them, you may hit some very adverse conditions before you realize what is going on. This is when many accidents happen.
Watch for these traffic control devices and follow the signs to avoid collisions and
travel safely.