National Work Zone Awareness Week Highlights Start Of Annual Construction Season

Slow down in construction zones. Courtesy/NMDOT


SANTA FE – Expect the unexpected when driving through work zones.

This week marks National Work Zone Awareness Week, the annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones and construction sites.

The theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week 2015 (March 23-27) is “Expect the Unexpected.”

This was the original theme used 15 years ago when the national event was created by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). It focuses attention on work zone safety and work zone workers.

Since the campaign’s creation, the number of work zone fatalities has dropped significantly. In the latest year for which figures are available (2013), 579 people died in work zone accidents in the U.S. Approximately 85 percent of those killed or injured in roadway work zone crashes were drivers.

Tips for driving in work zones:

  • Slow down and observe posted speed limits.
  • Keep your distance. Leave extra room between your vehicle and the one ahead to allow for extra reaction time in case of a problem. Allow plenty of space for construction workers and vehicles.
  • Orange highway signs and flags indicate a construction project ahead. Be prepared to merge or change lanes as directed by markers, signs or flaggers. Orange barrels and cones will help guide you safely through the zone.
  •  Minimize distractions. Give your full attention to driving through the work zone. This is not the time to talk on a cell phone or to change the radio station.
  •  Be patient. Highway construction projects may add a few minutes to the length of a trip, but those projects will improve highway conditions and promote safer driving for all motorists.

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