How to Stay Safe in Construction Zones

Accidents become more common when the regular flow of traffic is interrupted, and nothing interrupts traffic like a construction zone. Lanes shrink or disappear completely, and debris can often intrude into your driving space or impact pedestrian safety. Especially for commuters with nowhere else to go, construction can become a daily hazard – according to the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario saw 1694 collisions in construction zones in 2013.

Construction zones don’t have to be a constant source of stress. Here are some tips on how to navigate these obstructions quickly and safely.

Watch for Signs

Construction zones are usually indicated well in advance of the obstruction, so keep your eyes out for advanced warning of roadwork or reduced speed limit. As you approach the zone, be on the lookout for signs of reduced lanes, and prepare to merge. As a pedestrian, be ready for walkway detours that take you closer to traffic than usual.

Slow Down

Speeding fines are doubled in construction zones for a reason. Lanes are narrower, pavement may be rougher, and there are frequently workers separated from traffic by nothing more than pylons. Stick to the reduced speed limit, and be prepared to slow even further should you encounter additional hazards in the construction zone.

Watch for Workers

Construction workers and vehicles operate closer to traffic than you might expect. Be ready to yield to a slow-moving truck, and be aware of any flagmen instructing you to slow down or stop altogether.

Be Patient

Once you’re in the construction zone, there’s nothing you can do but relax and drive carefully. Roadwork improves the city for everyone, so you can look forward to smooth new tarmac once the inconvenience is over.

Drive Defensively

A construction zone is the last place you want to get complacent. Even if the road is signed 80km/h, you may still be safer at lower speeds. Go as fast as the conditions permit, and always leave a safe distance between you and the car ahead in case there is a need to stop suddenly.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

A construction zone is full of potential hazards that can jump out at you. Keep both hands on the wheel, and avoid distractions like changing the radio, adjusting the climate control, or chatting with your passenger. Focus on the road ahead and keep checking your mirrors and windows for changes outside.

Keep Obeying the Signs

Even when the road opens up, you might not be out of the construction zone. Nearby stretches of road are often worked on simultaneously, so there may be more workers just around the corner. When in doubt, keep your speed down and watch for signs that indicate the end of the construction, and a return to normal driving speeds.

Scan the Area

As a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver, it’s important to look not just forward, but up and down as well. The ground is frequently littered with debris large enough to trip over, or smaller but equally hazardous materials that can pierce shoes and tires. Some construction zones also have dangling wires, falling debris, or low-hanging scaffolding that can cause injury unless spotted early. Be prepared to avoid hazards, whether they’re signed or not.

Plan Ahead 

The best way to be safe in a construction zone is to avoid them altogether. When possible, plan ahead and be aware of construction before you set out. A longer route is often faster if it circumvents construction zones.

Always go into a construction zone alert and prepared. If you have been injured in a construction zone, as a driver or as a worker, contact Harris Law today to find out how you can receive the compensation you deserve.