Do you get nervous whenever you see construction on the roads of your town? Do you hate driving on the highway because there always seems to be construction along it? To make driving through a construction zone easier, you should make it safer. With a couple of simple tips, you can start driving safer through construction zones and help keep your chances of getting into a car accident down to a minimum.
Keep these five driving safety tips in mind whenever you’re in a construction zone:
- Five-second rule: When driving, following at a three-second distance is often considered good practice, as it gives you time to react to anything the car in front of you does. In a construction zone, you should increase your following distance to five seconds or longer if it helps. The goal is to give yourself plenty of time to drive defensively in case of an accident in the construction zone where the car in front of you is not the only concern. There might also be unexpected hazards on the roadway like falling debris, tools, etc.
- Expect construction workers: Construction zones are always marked with some sort of orange signage. The moment you see orange signs or cones, you should assume that there are workers somewhere in the street. You might not see any of the workers as you first approach the construction zone, but they are probably there out of sight. Even if you are driving late at night, take caution and assume workers could be near the road because construction is scheduled at all hours. In fact, night work is sometimes preferred to avoid the heat of the day.
- Listen to directions: Construction workers called flaggers are often posted around a construction site to direct traffic. They will usually carry noticeable flags, hence the name. Pay attention to everything a flagger tells you. If you come to a complete stop, wait for the flagger to tell you to proceed. Flaggers usually stop traffic because heavy machinery or equipment is moving through the area or overhead.
- Merge when possible: Drivers are often required to merge when entering or exiting a construction zone. Taking too long to merge can increase your risk of a sideswipe accident with drivers in the other lane. When you have a safe moment to merge, you should take it, even if it appears that your lane will continue for a while longer.
- Turn off the radio: As unusual as it might seem, auditory distractions can reduce visual acuity or your ability to pay attention to moving objections in your vision. Turn off your music or talk radio when driving through a construction zone to give the area around you all of your attention.