Work Zones Need Your Undivided Attention

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HAMILTON – Across the country, fatal crashes in roadway work zones killed more than 700 people last year. Clearly, this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week offers yet one more reason to take it easy when driving through work zones.

In New Jersey, according to the most recent stats available, 7 work zone fatalities occurred in 2008.

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Most collisions resulted from inattentive driving, following too closely and traveling at unsafe speeds. Nationwide in 2008, 720 people were killed in highway work zone collisions, down from 2007, when 831 people were killed in work zone collisions.

AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Traffic Safety joins federal and state transportation and safety organizations in observing the eighth annual National Work Zone Awareness Week, which runs from April 19th through April 23rd. This year’s theme is “Work Zones Need your Undivided Attention” and highlights that roadway work zone advisory signs mean business. They convey a life-and-death message: Changes in normal driving patterns can prove hazardous to motorists and work zone workers.

“The arrival of spring kicks-off the construction season, as well as an increase in the number of motorists on the road, resulting in more traffic congestion and the potential for accidents in work zones, Kenneth A. Chrusz, Safety Services Manager for the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education said. “If motorists obey the posted speed limits and advisories, and remain aware of the changing conditions when entering a work zone area, they can reduce their risk of work zone-related injuries and fatalities.”

Follow these tips to navigate safely through work zones:

•    Stay Alert-Dedicate your full attention to the roadways

•    Minimize Distractions-Avoid changing radio stations, using cell phones, eating and other distractions that can remove your concentration from the road

•    Pay Close Attention-Listen to the signs.  Watch brake lights on vehicles ahead of you.  Watch traffic around you and be prepared to react.
•    Don’t Tailgate-Keep at least two car lengths between you and the car ahead of you.

•    Obey the Posted Speed Limit-Speeding is a major cause of work zone crashes. Fines are doubled for moving violations in work zones.

•    Change Lanes Safely-Change lanes only where pavement markings indicate and only when traffic conditions permit.

•    Follow Flagger Instructions-A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign and you can fined for disobeying instructions.

•    Expect the Unexpected-Workers, work vehicles or equipment may enter your lane without warning.  Other vehicles may slow, change lanes or stop suddenly.

•    Expect Delays-Plan for them and leave early to reach your destination on time.  Take an alternate route if possible.

•    Be Patient and Stay Calm-Remember:  The goal of the work zone crew is to improve the road and your future drive.


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