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Road Construction Safety Tips from the Maine Department of Transportation

It’s road construction season in Maine. That means delays, detours, and often, potentially dangerous situations for workers and other drivers. So the Maine Department of Transportation has some tips to help keep everyone safe.

There was a television commercial years ago that had a car driving through a busy office. I’ve always remembered the dramatic impact of that ad and how true it is. All those DOT crews have cars and trucks whizzing by just a few feet from where they’re working and, most of the time, drivers who give no thought to them at all. Then think about a car driving into your place of work. Scary, right? Keep that image in your mind as you drive through their workplace next time!

Look over the following tips as a good reminder of safe behavior. And check out this year’s television ad on work zone safety!


Photo, John Moore, Getty Images
Photo, John Moore, Getty Images
1

Slow Down!

 
 

Driving too fast through a construction site is dangerous for everyone involved. Work zones are unpredictable, so you may be required to stop quickly or maneuver through some tight spaces. If you're traveling too fast, you may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid an accident and that endangers your life as well as the lives of other drivers and crew members.

You'll notice that speed limit signs on construction sites promise 'fines doubled' if you're caught speeding. That's not an empty threat. If you're caught speeding in a construction zone, you will pay a LOT.

 
Photo, Jeff J. Mitchell, Getty Images
Photo, Jeff J. Mitchell, Getty Images
2

Don't Tailgate!

 
 

This one seems obvious, but it's always a good reminder. Don't drive too close to the vehicle in front of you so you have plenty of time to stop.

Things can happen quickly in a construction site. A truck backing into the work zone or a flagger that turns their sign around can cause the vehicle in front of you to stop abruptly. If you're following too close, you'll end up in their tailgate. And that's going to be a huge headache.

Not only will it damage both vehicles, but could cause a chain reaction. And getting tow trucks into some of those narrow lanes to extract disabled vehicles is just going to make a bad situation even worse.

 
Photo, Michael Smith, Newsmakers, Getty Images
Photo, Michael Smith, Newsmakers, Getty Images
3

Pay Attention!

 
 

The Maine Department of Transportation's Duane Brunell told me the biggest challenge to work zone safety these days is distracted driving. If you're not paying attention, it could mean the difference between life and death. Literally.

Like I mentioned before, anything can happen in a construction site. And if you're not prepared to stop quickly, avoid a fallen sign or cone, or drive around a worker who inadvertently steps into the roadway, accidents will happen. Sometimes deadly accidents.

So put down the cell phone. Save that sip of coffee for when you're not moving. And let the kids cry until you can safely pull over and deal with them. In the end, it could save you time, at the very least.

 
Photo, Chip Somodavilla, Getty Images
Photo, Chip Somodavilla, Getty Images
4

Patience and Courtesy Requested!

 
 

We all know how frustrating it can be getting stuck in a line of traffic because of road construction. Especially if you're already running late.

So the DOT asks that motorists think ahead, and leave at least 10 minutes early so that you can allow for the inevitable work zone and possible delays. A little planning can help ease a difficult situation.

And use as much patience and courtesy as you can. Remember, everyone in that line of traffic is in the same situation.

And let's face it. We've all spent the late winter and spring complaining about the state of Maine's roads. I think we've had more frost heaves and deeper pot holes this year than I've ever seen in one season.

The people you're tempted to get angry at are the very ones who are fixing those roads. They stand in the hot sun all day, while we sit in air conditioning. They get sunburnt, mosquito bit, and cursed at everyday in the line of duty.

Let's show them we appreciate them and the job they do. Thanks, folks. We'll do all we can to keep you safe!

 

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