10 Tips For Driving Safely around Road Construction Zones

October 20, 2021

A road construction season might be arriving near your area. It might have even started.

It is lovely of course because young men and women are employed and improving the state of our roads. However, construction sites of any sort pose a threat to those that are nearby.

In fact, there has been a 26% rise in fatal crashes within road construction sites since 1997.

So, whether you are an amateur or a legend behind the wheel, read the tips below to ensure that you and others around the road construction sites remain safe.  

1. Be Alert And Avoid Distractions

Remain alert and observe the posted signs. They are there to assist you and other motorists in driving safely through the construction zone.

You need to pay maximum attention to the roadway. Avoid using devices, eating, changing radio stations, or any other activity that makes you lose concentration.

2. Expect The Unexpected

In a construction zone, the posted speed limits may be changed, road workers and their tools of work may be stationed near or on the road and shift irregularly, and traffic lanes may change suddenly.

You need to keep a cool head through all these shifting scenarios and anticipate sudden changes.

3. Obey the Directions of The Flaggers

The flagger is like a referee in a match. Only this time, they stop and direct traffic on construction sites.

They know what is best for the safe passage of motorists through a construction zone.

You risk being cited for disregarding a flagger’s orders – they have similar authority as regulatory signs, so stay alert and ready to follow the flagger’s directions.

4. Drive Defensively – Don’t Tailgate

Rear-end collisions are common crashes in road construction zones.

Always keep a braking distance of at least seven seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.

The Majority of rear-end collisions happen because of tailgating. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. 

5. Maintain The Posted Speed Limit

Speeding is a major cause of roadworks crashes. You should obey the posted speed limit and be prepared to reduce it even further when the need arises.

Drivers that go ten or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit in a construction zone will receive a speeding ticket.

In New York State, speed limits in work zones are usually set at ten mph less than the typical posted speed limits. For example, where most states have regulated work zones’ speed limit at 65 mph, New York’s limit would be 55 mph. 

6. Turn Your Headlights On

Albeit not enforced by law, you can increase your vehicle’s visibility by turning your headlights on.

Not only in the dark are headlights helpful, but even during the day. In fact, in some situations, you are required by law to use headlights during the day.

One main situation where daytime headlight use is important is inclement weather – sleet, hail, rain, snow, and fog are satisfactory reasons to use them because of reduced visibility.

7. Be Patient

Traffic may be annoying, but you need not let that get the better of you.

The reason for reducing speeds today is that tomorrow, you may increase.

Be patient with the road workers and other motorists as well. Cooperation and patience are pivotal in ensuring you and others reach your destination safely. 

8. Employ The ‘’take 10’’ Method To Change Lanes

The ‘’Lane closed ahead’’ sign or flashing orange-white arrow panels implies that you need to merge safely as soon as possible.

The mistake many people make is zooming right up to the end of the lane and trying to barge in.

Relax! Remember that cooperation is crucial for the effective movement of traffic.

The ‘’take 10’’ method entails turning on your signal to 3 seconds before you change lanes and taking at least 7 seconds to finish the merge, checking your mirrors throughout.

9. Plan Your Trip Early Enough And Prepare Adequately

When driving through road construction sites, anything can happen without warning.

Leave your home earlier if possible to make up for time wasted in case of a delay. 

You can use the tools you have on your device, e.g., GPS systems and apps with traffic information, DOT websites, listening to your radio or TV, and road traffic advisories, to figure out where construction zones are taking place.

10. Be Aware of the Workers’ Presence

Obey road signs that indicate the presence of road workers whether you see them or not.

Learn to respect their presence too because they are there only for a period and for the road users’ best interest: better roads in the future.

Most Common Types Of Road Construction In New York

Roads are bound to deteriorate as time passes due to wear and tear, weathering by freezing, heat, precipitation, and thawing.

NYC DOT undertakes regular inspections to examine road conditions and give ratings based on patching, cracking, and the overall condition.

Street Reconstruction

Full street reconstruction offers long-term upgrades to the road and its underlying structure, tackling critical matters involving the condition and design of a street.

Street reconstruction restores more than a foot of the roadway beneath the street’s surface and typically involves the reconstruction of sidewalks and curbs.

Reconstruction aims at improving storm-water flow, upgrading underground utilities, traffic signals, street lights, and the overall safety of motorists.

Street Resurfacing

Street resurfacing tackles issues on the road’s surface by restoring the top asphalt layer.

It solves problems such as cracking, potholes, patches, bumps, and hummocks.

Street surfacing is less costly and maintains the quality of roads in the short term. It also takes a short time to complete and is normally a scheduled process.

Check the current resurfacing schedule.

Final Word

Danger around construction zones is there by default. However, putting these tips into practice minimizes the probability of accidents occurring.

Reaching your destination safely is of the utmost importance. And it is up to you to ensure that not only you but other motorists and road workers also reach their homes safely.