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Tips for Driving Safely in Highway Construction Sites: “Work Zones Need Our Undivided Attention!”

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As National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week comes to a close, I’d like to remind you of some basic, simple driving tips that will help keep motorists and workers safe in these dangerous sections of our nation’s highways.

Construction equipment and activity on the highway can be distracting. Kids aren’t the only people who marvel as an asphalt roller smoothes out the surface of the road like a baker flattening dough with a rolling pin.


But motorists must be extra attentive when driving through a work zone. The potential for property damage and human harm are only greater in construction sites because of heavy machinery, loud noises and additional blind spots. In work zones, it’s important to expect the unexpected.

This video from the NC Department of Transportation might be a little silly, but it has an important message:


Another key in driving safely through work zones is to keep ample distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Most rear-end collisions happen when drivers are following too closely. Despite reduced speeds in many highway construction zones, disastrous consequences—like multiple car pile-ups—can still occur when vehicles travel too close to one another.

Be patient. Merge early and don’t get frustrated when others try to do the same. Heed the directions of flaggers in the work zone. They have been trained to help motorists pass safely and efficiently through construction sites. Pay careful attention to signage as well.

Speeding through work zones is never a good idea. Even in sites where there is no apparent work being done at the time, it’s best to follow the posted speed limit because other hazards—such as traffic shifts or lane restrictions—might be present. Follow the posted speed limit to protect your safety and the safety of others. In North Carolina, the fine for speeding through a work zone is $250 in addition to court costs.

Some other good tips for driving safely through work zones include turning on your headlights, avoiding distractions within your vehicle and staying in the same lane while passing through the work zone.

Remember the risks and consequences if you fail to pay attention, slow down and practice patience when travelling through work zones. In North Carolina, for example, you are responsible for any traffic violations or injuries that result if you cause an accident in a work zone. If you are involved in a fatal accident, the district attorney could charge you with manslaughter.

“Work Zones Need Our Undivided Attention” is an important message to keep in mind not only during National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, but throughout the year. I’m glad the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse highlighted this safety concern for the country this week.

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    It it time for the second season (snow is the first) here in Minnesota. So the orange cones are popping up every where. As you say, there are workers out there also. Hopefully, they will always be safe.