RALEIGH – Warmer weather means that drivers will see more transportation workers on the state’s roads and highways as a new construction season begins. To remind everyone to do their part to keep North Carolina’s work zones safe, Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed April as Work Zone Awareness Month and April 3-7 as Work Zone Awareness Week.
The N.C. Department of Transportation urges motorists to Drive Smart. Do Your Part. when driving in a work zone. The campaign asks drivers to obey the posted speed limit, avoid distractions, watch for workers, and expect the unexpected in work zones.
“How you drive is the most important part of keeping our work zones safe,” Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said. “Your actions behind the wheel can determine the safety of our workers, your passengers, other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Slow down and don’t drive distracted.”
There are more than 600 active work zones across the state. Work zones are not limited to interstate and highway construction. Utility and road maintenance sites are also considered work zones.
In North Carolina, there were 21,398 crashes that resulted in 103 fatalities in work zones from 2012 to 2016. Twenty-four people were killed in 2016, including two workers.
NCDOT reminds drivers to follow these tips to keep work zones safe:
- Pay close attention to signs and work zone flaggers.
- Watch out for road debris.
- Turn on your headlights so workers and other motorists can see you.
- Do not tailgate.
- Obey the posted speed limits in and around a work zone.
- Do not change lanes in a work zone.
- Minimize distractions: Avoid changing radio stations and using mobile phones while driving in a work zone.
- Expect the unexpected: Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment.
- When possible, use alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion.
- Leave early to get a head start on your drive and travel at non-peak times.
To learn more about work zone safety in North Carolina, visit the NCDOT Work Zone Safety Program’s website.