I-17 101 traffic interchange

Save yourself (and others): Slow down in work zones

Save yourself (and others): Slow down in work zones

April 7, 2019

PHOENIX – At the Arizona Department of Transportation, we take work zone safety seriously. Tasked with building and maintaining the state highway system, hundreds of ADOT personnel and contractors work side-by-side daily with speeding vehicles and, too often, distracted drivers.

Work zones are well marked, but crashes are still occurring. In 2017 in Arizona, nearly 1,000 collisions happened in work zones that resulted in fatalities. Drivers should pay heed because, according to national statistics, vehicle occupants account for more than 80 percent of traffic fatalities that occur in work zones.

That’s why, in an effort to again call attention to work zone safety, the Arizona State Capitol Dome will be lit orange from dusk to dawn, April 8-12, proclaimed Work Zone Awareness Week in Arizona by Governor Doug Ducey. ADOT is also partnering with the Industrial Commission of Arizona, Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors of America and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns to raise public awareness about why it’s important to pay attention when driving in work zones.

The No. 1 reason? It makes you – the driver and passengers – safer.

Paying attention to signage when approaching and driving through a work zone is an easy way to stay safe.

“Work zones are well marked – orange signs, cones, barrels and barricades are everywhere,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Everyone has the opportunity, even the responsibility, to slow down and pay attention when driving toward a work zone. Doing this saves lives.”

“Dealing with the external factor of motorists makes maintaining safety in a work zone unlike any other workplace,” said James Ashley, director of the Industrial Commission of Arizona. “If you are driving through a work zone, it is imperative that you slow down, be alert and watch out for the safety of those working. There is no reason to speed through a work zone.”

While ADOT workers can be found in work zones on state highways, work zones exist on all roadways every day of the year in every corner of the state.

Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns said, “Surveys consistently show that safe and efficient streets and roads are one of the most important services that residents want from cities and towns. Drivers need to always be alert for the presence of work crews that are doing repairs and upgrades to our transportation system, and drive extra carefully around them.”

“Road and highway construction is critical to Arizona’s continued growth, clean air and quality of life,” said David Martin, president of the Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America. “The men and women repairing and improving our roadways are exposed to the traveling public. For your safety and theirs, we are asking you to slow down in the ‘cone zone.’ Like you, construction workers have loved ones that want to see them arrive home safe. Again, please slow down in the ‘cone zone.’”

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.