This week (March 23-27) is National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week. Alabama Struck-By Alliance will be using this week to publicize potential dangers to workers and motorists in highway work zones and is asking that companies throughout Alabama participate in a "Safety Stand Down" focusing on work zone safety by hosting a tool box talk anytime during the week. The theme for this year's National campaign is "Expect the Unexpected."
White-Spunner Construction has pledged to take part in this year's Safety Stand Down and will be holding mandatory tool box talks to discuss work zone safety and distracted driving at all our job sites. Although we aren't road builders, our company does plenty of work next to roadways, we have friends or family that work for road building companies, and all of us frequently drive through areas of road work. The men and women working in these areas are mothers, fathers, sons or daughters and deserve the respect from all of us to slow down and help keep them safe.
However, it's not just the workers in these road work zones that we need to protect. From 2004-2013, there were more than 5,500 work zone crashes in Alabama resulting in injuries and 232 fatal crashes. Four out of five fatalities in work zone accidents are drivers and passengers. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of these crashes, and the three main types of distractions are visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) or cognitive (not paying attention to what you're doing). While all distractions can endanger drivers and others, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distractions (visual, manual and cognitive).
Some tips to remember while driving through a work zone include:
- Obey road crew flaggers
- Stay alert and minimize distractions; avoid using the radio or cell phone while driving through work zones
- Keep up with the traffic flow; don't lose focus by looking at the work
- Schedule enough time to drive through work zones safely; expect delays
- Be patient and stay calm; work zones are not planned to inconvenience the motorist.
- Slow down, stay alert and EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.