ISHPEMING — Construction season is right around the corner and Monday is the kick off for National Work Zone Awareness Week. As the construction season starts up again, the Michigan Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers to be aware of the road changes in work zones.
Nationally, deaths and injuries caused by crashes in the work zones are rising slightly, and that trend appears to be true around the state as well. But, MDOT points out some important ways to help reduce these numbers, and it starts with slowing down.
“Most of the accidents that happen in construction zones are because people are just driving too fast for the conditions,” said MDOT Communications Coordinator Dan Weingarten. “It’s not a normal roadway when it’s under construction. There might be lane changes, there might be vehicles stopping abruptly so slow down and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you when you go into a work zone.”
Weingarten says that distracted driving and people using cellphones are also a big factor in work zone crashes. Keeping with the theme of Work Zone Awareness, this Wednesday MDOT also is promoting Wear Orange for Safety Day to show support for those who do work on the roadways. People can post pictures of themselves wearing orange online using hashtags like #Orange4Safety, #GoOrangeDay, #NWZAW and #WorkZoneSafety.
“This year we’re asking everybody to drive like you work there,” said Weingarten. “In other words, treat that place like you would your own work place and realize that the construction workers, MDOT employees, and other people out on the roadways are working there everyday and want to go home to their families everyday.”
For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week, you can go to www.michigan.gov/workzonesafety.