Here's the three "S's" of managing work zones safely: Speed, Space and Stress. Handle these three factors and you're almost home free.
MANAGE YOUR SPEED:
- Slow Down when approaching all work zones. You will be in the work zone quicker than you think.
- Follow Posted Speed Limits, especially within construction zones, and try to maintain a consistent speed with the traffic flow. And adjust your speed for weather conditions.
- Don't Resume Normal Speed until you see roadway signs indicating it's safe to do so.
MANAGE YOUR SPACE:
- Leave Room. Leave adequate braking room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Count out at least two seconds from the time the car ahead of you passes an object and the time your own car passes that object. Also, keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers.
- Wait to Merge. Take Turns. In heavily congested work zones, use all open lanes until you reach the merge point. Then take turns every other car to merge together. It's not rude. It's safer and reduces your wait time 40 percent.
- Don't Pass on the Shoulder. Don't drive across the median. This creates a very dangerous situation for you, construction workers and other motorists -- not to mention the steep fine.
- Leave Yourself an Out. When stopped in traffic, leave a safety zone between you and the vehicle in front of you. A good rule of thumb is that when stopped in traffic you should be able to see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front of you.
- Watch Out for Tailgaters. Do not force tailgaters to back off by slamming on your brakes or reducing your speed significantly. This practice can lead to road rage and increases the chances of a collision. When possible, pull over and let them pass. If this is not possible, turn your headlights on and off several times during daylight hours to illuminate your tail lights and warn tailgaters they are too close. If at night, lightly tap your brake pedal to illuminate your brake lights.
MANAGE YOUR STRESS:
- Keep Your Cool. Calm down and don't rush. Remember, the temporary inconvenience of a construction zone will pay off with greatly improved roads soon.
- Pay Attention. Avoid cell phone or radio distractions, as well as those of other stopped cars or construction.
- Expect Delays. Use the MoDOT Traveler Information map on this Web site and other available information to keep yourself informed about construction on your route. Leave a bit earlier, if necessary, to arrive at your destination on time. Consider using an alternate route that bypasses the construction zones.