Stay Safe Near Construction Zones
The NTTA has a number of construction projects underway, from the new interchange in the works at the Dallas North Tollway and the Sam Rayburn Tollway to preliminary construction on Chisholm Trail Parkway in Tarrant County. That means that across the region, drivers will encounter a number of work zones along the way. Work zones, whether for construction or roadway maintenance, require extra attention and extreme caution for drivers. Drivers should pay special attention to workers, equipment and traffic control devices that may be present.
Roadway workers face immediate danger during their entire work shift, but drivers going through work zones also face increased risk. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, nearly 700 people were killed in work zone crashes across the United States in 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available). Texas had the highest number of fatalities of any state.
When approaching a work zone, drivers should slow down and pay extra attention to signs and message boards alerting them to changing routes or conditions. Drivers also should be alert to other drivers who may not be paying attention.
When traveling through work zones, follow these tips provided by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:
Eliminate distractions: Drinking, eating, using a mobile phone or adjusting radio settings all take attention away from the road long enough for serious mistakes to occur.
Expect the unexpected: Speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people may be working on or near the road.
Slow down: A car traveling at 60 mph travels 88 feet per second. The faster you are driving, the longer it takes to stop.
Read caution signs: Don’t assume that the same traffic switches or road conditions are in effect as the last time you traveled through that work zone. Construction schedules call for frequent changes.
Give yourself room: Rear-end collisions are the most common type of accident in work zones.
Plan ahead: Leave early or map out an alternate route so you don’t feel pressured to speed.
Be patient: If you don’t see workers, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
And remember, Texas enforces increased penalties for drivers who ignore posted speed limits in work zones where workers are present. A traffic ticket will cost more when workers are in the area.
Safety is no accident. Follow these safety tips and dial 9-1-1 to report unsafe drivers or conditions.