March 24, 2005
Who's most at risk in road construction?
By ERIC TOFTE
Evergreen Safety Council
Look out! There's a target in the road, or is that a flagger?
Roadway work zones can be extremely dangerous to both roadway workers and the people that drive through them. Everyone in a work zone, drivers and workers alike, must be aware of what is going on around them.
Roadway workers have a responsibility for the safety of drivers, but a driver also has a responsibility to himself/herself, other motorists and roadway workers. After all, how would you feel if people drove through your office at highway speeds on a routine basis?
The Federal Highway Administration regularly publishes work zone facts. Here are some facts taken from a 2003 FHA report:
Looking at the above facts it should be clear that people are dying in work zone accidents, and a majority of them are drivers and occupants, not workers in the work zone.
So what can YOU do when driving through a work zone?
The first thing any driver needs to do is pay attention. No matter where you are, if you are behind the wheel you must pay attention at all times. Drivers should not read, put on makeup or shave.
I like to remember what my dad, who spent his life in law enforcement, once said to me, "Driving a car is like pointing a .357 at your temple and cocking the hammer back." I believe he was right, driving is dangerous and not taking it seriously is a disservice to yourself, your family and everyone else on the road.
In addition to paying attention, here are some other habits to keep in mind:
At 60 mph, a vehicle travels 88 feet per second about a football field every 4 seconds. In the three-quarters of a second it takes the average driver to react, a vehicle has traveled 66 feet. It takes an additional 180 to 220 feet for a vehicle to make a complete stop on dry pavement. If you are speeding and/or tailgating you are going to hit the vehicle in front of you before you can stop.
Being in an accident is not fun. Even if no one is hurt you will have to spend time dealing with the accident, not only at the scene but with the insurance agent and body shop. If someone is hurt or killed, you will likely have to deal with a lawyer.
Evergreen Safety Council believes safe driving is important and that driving must be taken seriously. Looking back at the .357 example, if you were standing right now with a loaded revolver, how careful would you be? Are you as careful when you drive? If not, why not?
Driving is a skill that demands constant awareness. Evergreen Safety Council has developed the EverSafe driving class to provide drivers with the information, knowledge and skills to be safe behind the wheel. The course was developed to assist the employer with providing driving training, but greatly benefits everyone that drives.
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