Work zone safety: VDOT reminds you to drive like you work here

transportation road work

Credit: carterdayne

The start of construction season is underway and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is counting on you to commit to safe travel in Virginia work zones.

While slightly fewer work zone crashes were recorded in 2018, the numbers remain high. Last year, 2,523 work zone crashes resulting in 1,256 injuries and nine fatalities were reported. This was a 5.4% decrease in crashes, a 5.35% decrease in injuries and an 18% decrease in fatalities from 2017.

In a constant effort to reduce work zone crashes, VDOT continues to focus on best safety practices and encourage safe travel in work zones for National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). The nationwide theme, “Drive Like You Work Here” is part of the campaign observed this year from April 8-12, reminding drivers that work zones are where thousands of road crews spend much of their time at work.

“Work zones signify critical maintenance and construction investments into the future of Virginia’s transportation system,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “We must remember that behind orange cones and under hard hats and vests are people hoping to return home each day to their loved ones.”

“Safety for crews and travelers is our first priority. On the job, VDOT men and women face dangers on roadways not experienced in traditional offices,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich. “We must all commit to remove distractions and drive cautiously in work zones to reduce crashes and save lives.”

But drivers don’t have to wait for NWZAW to safely navigate work zones:

  • Focus and minimize distractions. Focus your full attention on the road and those traveling around you. Avoid using phones, changing radio stations or eating.
  • Expect the unexpected. Keep an eye out for workers and slow-moving equipment.
  • Follow the signs. Signs and flaggers will direct you through work zones. Expect changes in traffic patterns as a project progresses.
  • Don’t tailgate. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
  • Don’t speed. Enhanced fines of up to $500 may be levied for speeding in a work zone.
  • Be patient. Crews are working to improve the safety and comfort of your travels.
  • Never change lanes in a work zone.
  • Know before you go. Call 511 for up-to-the-minute traffic and weather information from any phone in Virginia. Before you travel, log on to 511Virginia or check the 511 Virginia mobile app for road and traffic conditions, weather forecasts and live traffic cameras on many major highways.
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