Keep Our Crews and Yourself Safe in Work Zones

Date:

The National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign highlights the importance of safe driving in work zones

AUSTIN – Have you ever felt the blast of air from traffic on the side of a highway? The ceaseless noise, staggering winds, and two-ton vehicles speeding just feet away can be terrifying for highway workers in work zones. 

With the Texas population continuing to grow, more and more projects are popping up to address congestion and improve safety. Crews at these sites just want to get the job done and come home safe to their families. But drivers are actually more often the people getting hurt in work zones.

Last year 190 people were killed in work zones, and 77% were drivers or their passengers. It’s a major concern, and during National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 15–19, TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign will give safe driving tips for navigating these work zones.

“Keeping our Texas highway system functioning and safe requires constant effort from dedicated crews,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said. “Drivers should anticipate work zones and changing road conditions and always be prepared to slow down, follow signs and pay attention.”

Following two consecutive years of declines in the number of traffic fatalities in work zones, TxDOT is urging Texans to help continue this trend by slowing down, staying alert and obeying posted signage when driving through road construction or maintenance areas. The “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign offers five tips for safely navigating work zones:

  1. Slow down. Follow the posted speed limit and never drive faster than what is safe for road conditions. Excessive speed is a leading cause of work zone crashes.
  2. Pay attention. Avoid distractions, keep your mind on the road and put your phone away.
  3. Watch out for road crews. Roadside workers want to get home safely too. Always follow instructions and be mindful of construction area road signs. 
  4. Don’t tailgate. Traffic in work zones can slow suddenly so give yourself room to stop in a hurry. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of work zone crashes.
  5. Allow extra time. Road construction can slow things down. Count on it, and plan for it.

TxDOT also reminds motorists to follow the state’s Move Over/Slow Down law that requires drivers to move over a lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when approaching TxDOT, emergency, law enforcement, tow truck or utility vehicles stopped with flashing lights activated on the roadside.

To spread work zone safety awareness and encourage safe driving behaviors, roadway safety professionals are encouraged to wear orange on April 17 for Go Orange Day. 

TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. 

For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@TxDOT.gov or (512) 463-8700.

Rhonda Oaks
Rhonda Oaks is the Public Information Officer for the nine-county Lufkin District of the Texas Department of Transportation. A Lufkin native, she is a graduate of Hudson High School and Angelina College. She has a background in print journalism and worked for many years as a newspaper reporter and a freelance writer. She has received eight Associated Press awards. Her articles have been published in many publications over the past 25 years.

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