And so it begins…
Stop for a second and take a deep breath. What do you smell during this spring day? Flowers blooming? Freshly cut grass? Maybe the true smell of spring and summer; freshly laid asphalt. Yes, it’s true. We have two seasons; winter and road construction. We can survive this season of road construction, but you have to have a plan of attack.
The first thing to do is find out from your local traffic department where the construction is going to be and what time frame are they looking at; ie: when does the construction begin and what date are they looking at completing it. Your city website should have a section that tells you of the road maintenance schedule for the spring and summer months. If you can’t find that schedule, call your local city or town hall to find out the information that you need.
The next thing is to plan alternative routes because the construction usually means fewer lanes open for traffic. Even though the time you may spend is longer while using your alternative route, overall it will take less time compared to sitting in traffic waiting for your turn to move along the construction zone. Remove your distractions by keeping your radio to a low volume and turning off your cell phone. Avoid eating or drinking a beverage while driving through busy construction zones. This will help you stay focused on the distractions of road workers and construction vehicles.
Time of day is also a factor when driving through construction zones. Rush hour is busy enough with all lanes open, but once you cut the available lanes in half, it’ll almost double or even triple your commute time. See if you can change your work schedule to start and finish your day sooner. This way you can avoid the peak driving times and can help you get through the construction zone more effectively.
Be patient with the person who holds the signs that say you should stop or can drive slowly through the area. They have to let so many drivers through the area and if it happens that you’re the first vehicle they stop so the oncoming drivers can have their turn to pass, please be patient with them. It’s not a personal attack against you. You’ll get your turn to pass through soon enough.
Always take a look for the orange warning signs. These are temporary warning signs. They share important messages for each driver to pay attention to. This would include dropping your speed as you drive through these areas. Since the road workers are walking close to the edge of the road, a reduced speed will give you more time to see, think and respond in time to them if they get too close to the edge of the road. In a lot of jurisdictions, the fine is doubled in construction zones for speeding.
Give the construction vehicles room to work. Sometimes they’ll need you to reposition your vehicle so they can enter or exit a construction area. Be a courteous driver and share the space with them.
And finally, always use caution and your common sense while driving through construction zones. Getting through safely is better than trying to get through quickly. The quicker you try, the more frustrated you’ll become.