Driving safely in work zones is increasingly important with the onset of summer. All over Washington State and in particular throughout the South Puget Sound and here in Tacoma we can expect driving delays and slowdowns due to construction on our roadways that require you to be more alert and responsive than normal driving conditions. So we at Collision Specialists thought you might benefit from some friendly reminders for safely navigating the ever-changing roadway conditions.
First and foremost: slow down! That extra 10 miles an hour you are tacking on only saves you about 5 minutes on the drive from Tacoma to Seattle, but it opens you up to speeding tickets and the liability of an accident if there are unexpected slow downs right around a next turn. Of course, follow the posted speed limits - both for your safety and the safety of road workers, and don't resume normal speed until you see roadway signs indicating that it's safe to do so.
Minding the space around you is also a very important factor in keeping safe: Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Also, keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment, and workers. Never pass on the shoulder, and don't drive across the median. Also, leave yourself a way out: when stopped in traffic, leave a safety zone between you and the vehicle in front of you - you should be able to see the bottom of the tires of the car. Also, watch for tailgaters. Do not force them off by slamming on your brakes, as this can lead to road rage with already impatient drivers and an increased chance of a collision. Gently tapping your brakes should get the message across - in the worst-case scenario, pull over and let the car pass. They could be dealing with an emergency, and it is better to assume that they are if they do not head the warning signal of tapping your brakes.
Driving in a work zone can be stressful so be like Fonzy: keep cool and calm, never rush and remember that any inconvenience is temporary. Pay special attention during the drive by avoiding cell phone and radio distractions, and keep your eye on the road - not on the other drivers pulled over or the road construction. As always, expect delays. Use the Washington State Department of Transportation website at http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/ to review your route. Leave earlier than you think you need to and consider alternate routes that bypass the construction zones and sometimes offer a more pleasant, scenic route.
Anything can happen in a work zone - traffic is ever changing, and it is best to expect the unexpected, keep it safe, be patient, and don't risk the heavy additional fines associated with work zone traffic infractions.
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