Be patient, drive safely in roadway work zones

August 19, 2009 05:00 am

It’s imperative that motorists stay alert as construction work continues at Constitution Way and Highway 101, as well as other areas in Curry County and elsewhere.

When drivers enter a work zone, it’s not the time to be jockeying for a lane, talking on the phone or speeding. Doing so can put the driver, passengers and construction zone workers in mortal danger.

Oftentimes, the only thing protecting workers, and particularly the traffic flaggers, from injury or death is a neon-colored vest or an orange cone or barrel.

So far we’re happy to report that no workers at construction zones in Curry County have been hurt.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, nearly 1,000 people died in work zone accidents in 2007, the last year of complete data. That is a 25 percent increase from the year before.

The Oregon Department of Transportation asks motorist to take the following actions when entering work zones:

•Stay alert. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway.

•Pay close attention to signs and work zone flaggers.

•Turn on headlights. Workers and motorists must see you.

•Do not tailgate.

•Do not speed. Slow down to posted limits.

•Keep up with the traffic flow through work zones.

•Do not change lanes in work zones.

 •Minimize distractions in vehicles. Avoid changing radio stations and using cell phones.

•Expect the unexpected. Keep an eye on workers and their equipment.

•Be patient. Remember work zones are necessary to improve roads and make them safer.