Every 9 minutes, someone is injured in a work zone. Every 8 hours, someone dies from a work zone incident. Thirty percent of these work zone crashes involve large trucks, and the reality is that many of them can be avoided.
Here are 10 basic work zone safety tips for all CDL drivers that can help everyone stay safe while driving.
1. Expect the Unexpected
You never know what is around the corner, but you can always be prepared. Expect every blind spot to be occupied and there to be traffic around every hidden bend. It pays to be cautious!
2. Slow Down
When the unexpected does occur, reaction time is crucial. Your reaction time is directly related to your speed so take your time in high traffic conditions such as work zones. A few mph slower can make the difference between a safe stop and a collision.
3. Don’t Tailgate
Keeping an appropriate speed is one way to stay safe while driving, but it’s just as important to keep a safe distance. Tailgating is one of the major causes of accidents in trucking and is also one of the most preventable. Give plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you so that you have ample time to stop. The braking distance varies by vehicle and speed, so play it safe and stay back.
4. Keep Distance from Crews
Work zone crews are constantly dealing with moving equipment and various terrains while sections are under construction so leave them plenty of space to move around freely. Extra space leaves room for error and keeps both parties safe.
5. Pay Attention to Signs
Make sure to pay close attention to work zone signs that may have you switching lanes, looking for flaggers, or changing speeds.
6. Obey Road Crew Flaggers
A flagger has the same authority as a posted road sign and has the best knowledge and ability to keep traffic flowing properly. Pay attention and follow the directions a flagger gives accordingly.
7. Stay Alert, Reduce Distractions
To be aware of your surroundings you need to be able to see and hear them clearly. Turn down the music and stay off your headset while traveling through work zones.
8. Keep Up with Traffic Flow
Help keep traffic flowing and minimize stops and contested lanes by merging as soon as possible.
9. Perform an Adequate Pre-Trip
Work zones can leave you moving slowly or sitting for significant time, which is why an adequate pre-trip inspections is crucial. Ensure that everything is working properly beforehand rather than finding out later when you have cars lined up behind you in a work zone.
10. Stay Patient, Remain Calm
The delays that come with work zones and drivers that pass through it can be frustrating, but it is necessary to stay calm. Frustration and impatience can lead to rash decisions or end up delaying you even further.