With spring comes a call for caution

Spring flowers and trees are starting to bloom, and so is the annual spring appearance of orange work-zone barrels.

This past week marked National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, an annual event designed to remind drivers to be patient, slow down and pay attention in road construction areas. Of course we shouldn’t have to be reminded.

Last year, four construction workers, including an Ohio Department of Transportation worker, were killed while working along roads. ODOT reported 14 people were killed in Ohio work zone crashes.

Since reaching a high in 2015, work zone crashes have been trending downward in Ohio, ODOT reported. In 2018, there were a total of 4,662 crashes in work zones. The top factor continues to be following too closely. Nationally, speed is a factor in more than a quarter of all deadly work zone crashes.

It isn’t just major construction projects that create safety concerns. State, county and local highway workers could be on the side of the road making minor improvements. Ohio law requires motorists to move over a lane for all roadside workers. If they cannot move over, drivers should slow down.

Everyone is on a tight schedule and in a hurry to get from here to there. That is until coming upon a construction zone. Riding right behind the bumper of the vehicle in front won’t result in a quicker trip through the work zone.

Traffic is slowed in a construction zone for a reason. Construction vehicles are pulling onto and off the highway. There are workers and heavy equipment operating sometimes just feet from the open lanes of travel.

Drivers have to be alert when traveling through a work zone.

That means allowing enough distance between vehicles so a sudden stop can be made without a collision.

Pay close attention to the instructions of flaggers and construction zone signs that warn or advise a motorist of what to expect in the work zone.

Better yet, plan ahead to avoid construction zones.

Remember, speeding violations can be very costly in a construction zone.

Everyone complains about the condition of area roads and bridges and work is under way to make repairs. But patience and safe driving go hand-in-hand with the summer road construction season.


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