Rock Talk

National Work Zone Awareness Week

Last updated on August 16, 2017 at 05:00 pm

Thanks to the freeze-thaw cycle that comes with the seasons there are plenty of potholes to go around. I’ve encountered my fair share and at this point I’m just glad my wheels are still attached. I’m not the only one worried about having an accident caused by road conditions in New Jersey. According to a new study from Plymouth Rock Assurance virtually all drivers polled expressed concerns. So it’s a good thing that this time of year is also the start of construction season. It’s also the perfect time to discuss National Work Zone Awareness Week, a week devoted to encouraging safe driving through highway work zones. This year’s theme is “Expect the Unexpected” and drivers are asked to use extra caution when traveling through work zones.

As road repairs get underway, we all need to be more aware of what we’re doing on the road. Signs alerting you about changes in traffic patterns aren’t there for decoration. That nice guy waving the flag and sporting fluorescent yellow is not having a dance party for one. And those groups of people working alongside the road are real, live people with families.

Let’s try to put this in perspective. Think about where you work. What’s the associated worker fatality for sending a memo? What about fatal injuries for hosting a conference call or writing a report? Or fatalities associated with leading a classroom discussion or holding the door for a coworker? Has anyone zoomed past your desk at 70 mph lately? You might think those are silly questions because stuff like that just doesn’t happen where you work. But it’s a different story for road workers. This PSA from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration shows exactly what I’m talking about:

https://youtu.be/YeoB3tIb2RI

Between 2003 and 2010, there were 962 work zone-associated worker fatalities. In about one out of ten fatalities, workers were flagging or performing traffic control duties. And almost 50% of all work zone fatalities were due to being struck by a vehicle.

The good news is that we can easily turn these stats around. Here’s how you can help:

  • Slow down when approaching and going through a work zone.
  • Obey posted speed limits and signs.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.

Reducing accidents is a team effort when it comes to work zones. Check traffic reports and leave with extra time just in case. Delays and new traffic patterns can be frustrating but being prepared and aware are the best ways to avoid accidents in construction zones. What are some ways you manage traffic during construction season? Tell us in the comments below!

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