PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) – National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 3-7, and the South Dakota Department of Transportation is teaming up with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and state transportation departments across the country to remind motorists to drive safely through work zones.
The department is asking motorists driving through work zones to slow down, give their full attention to the cars and work going on around them, and to expect the unexpected. Nationwide, four out of every five work zone fatalities are motorists.
“We understand work zones can result in delays and frustration,” says Secretary of Transportation Darin Bergquist. “But, when motorists drive recklessly through work zones, they are putting the lives of highway workers, themselves, other drivers and passengers at risk.”
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), speed is the number one concern in work zone safety. When traveling at high speeds drivers can arrive at a roadway work zone too fast to stop safely.
If speeding is combined with in-vehicle distractions and inattentive or aggressive driving, the potential for a life-changing and potentially fatal crash increases.
“We want motorists who are tempted to speed or drive distracted through work zones to remember that these are real people with real families and friends,” says Bergquist. “Driving is a serious job, and preventing crashes that result in injuries or deaths is everyone’s responsibility.”
To bring even more awareness to work zone safety, the FHWA is asking everyone to wear orange during the week of April 3-7 and to post their selfies on social media using the hashtag #orange4safety.
The SDDOT encourages motorists to practice the following safety tips when traveling through work zones:
- Don’t Speed – Reduce speed before entering a work zone. If other motorists are speeding, don’t follow the bad example. Remember, fines are double in work zones.
- Stay Alert – Dedicate full attention to the road. Remember, somebody’s loved one is working in that area.
- Pay Attention – Avoid distracting activities like adjusting the radio and talking or texting on a cell phone.
- Expect the Unexpected – Be extra vigilant because the traffic patterns and speeds are different than normal.
- Be Prepared to Stop – Signs and work-zone flaggers save lives.
- Don’t Tailgate – Maintain adequate and safe distances from workers and other vehicles.
- Be Patient – Remember, road crews are working to improve your future ride. Someone’s family is expecting them home at the end of their shift.