This time of year, New Yorkers are likely to see more road construction projects underway. As such, drivers should brush up on their driving skills and knowledge when navigating road construction safely.
Work zones can be chaotic. They are loud and disruptive, and they often have workers and large machines moving around. With so much going on, paying attention is vital.
Drivers must be alert and refrain from distractions like using a phone, changing the song on the radio or digging around for something in the back seat. Those who do not can increase the risk of:
- Entering a restricted area
- Swerving out of their lane
- Striking someone or something next to the road
- Rear-ending a car that has stopped in front of them
Driving is cognitively demanding already; adding in detours, construction barrels or traffic controllers means there are even more decisions and adjustments to make in the blink of an eye. Distracted drivers miss these cues and put workers and themselves in danger.
Give workers some space
Road construction workers put their lives on the line when they are working on a project. To protect themselves, they often wear bright, reflective clothing and work only within the confines of a well-marked zone.
But drivers can play a significant role in steering clear of workers. Motorists can move over a lane to put more space between themselves and workers in a work zone whenever possible. When moving over is not an option, drivers can slow down and stay within designated lanes to reduce the risk of striking a worker.
Road construction can be frustrating, particularly if it creates or worsens traffic congestion. While it can be easy to panic or become aggressive behind the wheel, safe drivers should take a breath and practice patience.
This might mean looking at the route before leaving and adjusting arrival expectations based on anticipated delays or choosing an alternate route to avoid construction in the first place.
Drivers who find themselves stuck in the middle of the situation should focus on staying calm and slowing down.
Last year, there were more than 200 accidents in work zones across the state. Remembering these rules and practicing safe driving habits can help everyone avoid the devastation of a construction zone crash.