DAYTON — Highway construction work zones continue to be a danger zone for motorists and road crews. According to 2016 statistics from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), there were an average of 16 work-zone crashes every day in Ohio.
In 2016, there were 28 people killed in Ohio work-zone crashes and another 1,196 people were injured. The majority of the collisions (more than 20,000) were rear-end crashes.
To raise awareness of the problem and increase safety for road workers and motorists, AAA is reminding motorists of National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 9-13.
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), it is investing a near-record $2.35 billion into about 1,000 projects this year for Ohio roadways. ODOT and contractors will repair or replace 5,645 miles of pavement.
“Highway construction crews work in dangerous conditions, often just a few feet away from speeding traffic,” said Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “Too often, drivers are inattentive, driving too fast, following too close or changing lanes or yielding right-of-way improperly in designated work zones, putting those workers’ lives at risk. We urge motorists to slow down, move over when possible and drive extra carefully, not only in work zones, but also whenever there is a tow truck or other emergency vehicle on the side of the road.”
Ohio Work Zone Facts
• Fines are double in all Ohio work zones, whether they are major construction projects or short-term maintenance projects. If you don’t slow down, you will pay up.
• The Ohio Move Over Law requires all drivers to move over one lane passing by any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside.
“Nationally in 2016, 765 people died in work zone crashes, with 635 of those fatalities being vehicle drivers and passengers,” said Antrican, citing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics. “Those numbers are significant and tragic, but there are precautions motorists can take to make road workers safer while also protecting themselves and their passengers while traveling through work zones.”
Tips for Driving Safely in and Around Work Zones
• Know Before You Go. Check your phone apps, agency websites, and the radio for the latest traffic information to ensure a safe and timely trip.
• Wear Your Seatbelt. It is your best defense in a crash.
• Expect the Unexpected. Work zones change often. The area you drove through yesterday may look different today.
• Avoid Distractions. Distracted driving in a work zone can have deadly consequences. Put down your phone and keep your eyes on the road.
• Pay Attention to Other Drivers. Narrowed traffic patterns provide less ability to maneuver around other vehicles safely. Paying attention can prevent the need for evasive actions in work zones.
• Don’t Speed or Tailgate. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you and don’t speed. Tailgating and speeding lead to crashes with other vehicles and field workers.
• Obey Road Crews and Signs. Flaggers know how best to move traffic safely in work zones. The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely.
• Be Patient and Stay Calm. Work zone crew members are working to improve the road and make your future drive better. Stay calm and drive safely.