By John Halikowski / ADOT Director
One-thousand crashes. Seventeen people killed.
That’s how many collisions and fatalities occurred in work zones in 2017 in Arizona. How is that possible? Work zones have signs, barricades, cones and more orange than Sunkist. It’s impossible for a driver not to know when they’re approaching a work zone.
Unless that driver isn’t paying attention.
At ADOT, we put safety first when establishing work zones. There’s enough space for our men and women to work and enough signage and room for drivers to safely navigate their way through the work zone – if they’re paying attention. And now, during Work Zone Awareness Week, April 8-12, we will do our best again to engage the public about how to stay safe in work zones.
It’s important for motorists to pay attention to signage when entering work zones because national crash statistics show that vehicle occupants account for more than 80 percent of traffic fatalities that occur in work zones.
Of course, transportation crews aren’t the only ones working in or near travel lanes. First responders like law enforcement, firefighters and tow truck operators need a safe area to work, too, when they arrive at collisions or stalled vehicles. When you see flashing lights, “Move Over!”
Please, be an attentive driver. Look out for the men and women working to improve the road you’re traveling on, responding to incidents, and yourself, too. Follow these tips when traveling through work zones:
Pay attention: Observe and obey posted warning signs, as well as flaggers. You can be cited for disobeying a flagger’s directions.
Expect the unexpected: Speed limits might be lowered, travel lanes could be narrowed or eliminated and people may be working near your travel lane.
Slow down: Speeding is one of the leading causes of work zone crashes.
Merge safely: Do it carefully and as directed by signage. In some locations a zipper merge may be used.
Don’t tailgate: The most common crash in a work zone is the rear-end collision. Don’t follow too closely and, again, slow your speed.
For more information about work zone safety, visit FocusOnDriving.com.
This post originally appeared on ADOT Director John Halikowski's
LinkedIn page. He has led the agency since 2009.