National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is an annual campaign held at the start of the construction season to promote safe driving in highway work zones. This year, NWZAW will be held from April 17-21 and is hosted by the Missouri Department of Transportation. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of using extra caution when driving through work zones to ensure the safety of construction workers and motorists alike.
Work zones are an essential part of maintaining and improving our nation’s road infrastructure. They are necessary for repairing roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, but they also pose risks to the workers and drivers. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), work zone accidents resulted in over 850 fatalities in 2020 alone. This highlights the need for increased awareness and caution when driving through work zones.
The key message for this year’s NWZAW is to “You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us”. WIth this theme in mind, here are some important tips for safe driving through work zones:
- Slow down: Work zones usually have reduced speed limits for a reason. Slowing down can help you react to any unexpected situations and avoid accidents. Follow the posted speed limits and be prepared to slow down further if needed.
- Pay attention: Keep your eyes on the road and avoid any distractions, such as using your phone, eating, or adjusting the radio. Watch for signs, traffic cones, and flaggers that provide directions or warnings about upcoming changes in the road.
- Be patient: Work zones can sometimes cause delays in your commute, but it’s important to be patient. Remember that the workers are doing their job to improve the roads for everyone’s benefit. Avoid tailgating or weaving in and out of traffic, as it can increase the risk of accidents.
- Follow instructions: Follow any instructions given by flaggers or construction workers. They are there to help you navigate through the work zone safely. Be prepared to stop or yield if necessary.
- Plan ahead: Before heading out, check for any roadwork or construction projects along your route. If possible, plan an alternate route to avoid work zones altogether. If you must drive through a work zone, allow extra time for potential delays.
- Be cautious at night: Work zones may continue after dark, and visibility can be reduced. Make sure your headlights are on and be extra cautious when driving through work zones at night.
- Respect the law: Fines for speeding or not obeying work zone signs and instructions are often higher in work zones. It’s important to follow the law and drive responsibly in work zones.
National Work Zone Awareness Week serves as a reminder to all drivers to exercise caution and be vigilant when driving through work zones. By following these tips and being mindful of the safety of construction workers and fellow motorists, we can help prevent accidents and ensure a safer environment for everyone on the road. Let’s make the construction season safer by driving with care and awareness in work zones!
For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit ATSSA’s page on the event here.
Invarion is proud to be working with the Missouri Department of Transportation, as well as many other DOT’s and industry stakeholders across the United States to make work zones safer throughout the country.