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How to protect highway workers during construction season

ROAD construction

(WKOW) -- Spring is here and construction season is in full swing in Wisconsin.

Duane Jorgenson, Rock County Highway Commissioner with the Rock County Department of Public Works, urges drivers to be careful in road construction and maintenance work zones throughout the 2021 construction season.

A work zone in the state includes major highway construction and rehabilitation, maintenance, emergency response, utility work, municipal projects, and more – any time there are flashing lights, signs, barrels, or workers on the road.

According to Jorgenson's report, there were more than 1,800 work zone crashes throughout Wisconsin, resulting in 665 injuries and 17 fatalities in 2020.

“All individuals that perform work on our highways have important roles that are just like anyone else. They want to do a good job and make it safely home to their families at night,” said Jorgenson. “We ask that everyone take extra time and stay alert on the roads.”

The department shared the following tips to help keep you and others on the road safe during construction season:

Don’t fool around. Eliminate distractions like eating, drinking, talking on the phone, or fiddling with electronic devices.
Expect the unexpected. Speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people and vehicles may be working on or near the road.
Slow down. A car traveling 60 mph travels 88 feet per second, and the faster you go the longer it takes to stop.
Give yourself room. Rear-end collisions are the most common work zone crashes, so don’t tailgate.
Allow about three seconds of braking distance. Look for signs. Orange, diamond-shaped signs usually give you ample warning of lane closings, construction areas, and flaggers and other workers ahead.
Be patient. If you don’t see workers, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Observe the signs until you see one that says you’ve left the work zone.
Plan ahead. Leave early or map out an alternate route. Find the latest road conditions and work zone news at 511 Wisconsin.
Follow the law. Slow down and move over, if possible, when you see flashing lights.
Turn off your cell phone. Consider turning off the phone until you reach your destination.
Let people know you'll be unavailable. During a long drive, consider leaving a voice mail explaining how long you’ll be unavailable.
Pull over. If you have to make a call, find a secure place to pull over and stop, such as a wayside or a gas station.

For up-to-date road conditions, check 511 Wisconsin.

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