Across Ontario, there were 1,694 collisions in construction zones in 2013 (the most recent year for which data is available). In 2015 alone, there were 8 reported deaths caused by construction zone car accidents. The aftermath has been stricter law enforcement and awareness campaigns designed to keep workers out of harm’s way. When approaching a construction zone, there are typical precautions that every driver should be aware of and practice:
1. Slow down when you see the cones on the road:
- Plan your route and allow extra travel time
- Expect the unexpected and don’t tailgate
- Slow down to posted speed limits and pay attention
- Allow extra space between your vehicle and the one in front of you
2. Be more aware when you are driving, especially in the presence of the cones:
- Never use a cell phone or text while driving
- Follow sign and flag directions
- Get to know the work-zone signs.
3. Understand that road workers and other people who work in the area are fathers, mothers, friends, etc., and their safety is just as important as anyone else’s. You can show your respect by:
- Making eye contact
- Keeping your cool and being patient
- Slowing down even if you don’t see anyone working. Hazards such as traffic shifts or lane reductions may appear suddenly.
Construction zones are hazardous in nature and car accidents can occur due to:
- Inadequate or improper signage before a construction zone
- Unsafe road conditions due to road repairs, heavy equipment and construction debris
- Unsafe turns, road blockages and lane closures before and after a construction zone, and
- Failure to protect road workers
It’s important that drivers approach construction zones with caution and acknowledge the associated risks.