How to Make Work Zones More Efficient

A lot goes into setting up a work zone, including signage and equipment. This is an area where mistakes can lead to serious traffic accidents that put everyone involved at risk – workers and drivers alike.

That’s why FHWA is working with State DOTs and the trucking industry to make work zones safer. This includes ITS technologies, improved data collection, training grants and more.

Invest in Signage

Signage is a highly effective way to make your business stand out from the crowd and promote the benefits of shopping with you. It is one of the cheapest forms of marketing and can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

In addition to advertising, signage can also influence customer behavior in a number of ways. It can help people make decisions, understand directions, or provide advice. It can also be used to encourage people to buy products or services, and it can be designed to increase brand awareness.

Research has found that signs can be highly effective in changing behavior in a variety of domains. For example, traffic signage can be successful in increasing safety belt use and decreasing speeding. It can also be successful in reducing deer-vehicle collisions and minimizing conflict between pedestrians and motorists.

Unlike mass media, which endlessly transmits persuasive communications to its recipients, signage can be easily designed to communicate messages that target specific groups of people. It can also be inexpensive to maintain, which makes it a popular method for behavior change.

To maximize your ROI, you should have a clear set of goals for your signage. For instance, if your goal is to make customers happier, then you should look for signs that increase engagement or relieve frustration with long queue times. Similarly, if your goal is to boost sales, then you should focus on signage that displays hot promotions and bargain deals. It can also be helpful to track the impact of promotional signage on retail sales. In addition, you should ensure that your signage is easy to read and understand so that your customers can learn what they need to know.

Set Up One Long Work Zone

Work zones can be a challenging time for both drivers and construction crews. Many crashes occur in and around work zones due to traffic pattern changes, narrowed rights-of-way, the presence of construction workers, and frequent entrances and exits from work vehicles into and out of a work zone.

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to make work zones safer and more efficient for both motorists and workers alike. By making sure that drivers can recognize and follow the signs, avoiding distractions and taking extra caution to slow down and adjust their driving to match the conditions, you can help keep everyone safe in these high-risk areas.

Drivers should also pay attention to the number of lane closures and the timing of those closures. If it is not possible to safely operate the equipment in a given lane, or when a lane is only open for short periods of time, drivers should merge into another lane as soon as the lane is available.

It can be difficult to understand why work zones are set up in the way they are, but a good rule of thumb is to remember that these lane closures are designed to maximize productivity within a specific area. This can mean closing one lane and moving to a different one while working, or alternating lane closures, allowing the most productive work to be completed at a time when drivers are not accustomed to the type of traffic that is traveling through the work zone.

Keeping work zone safety in mind can ensure the success of any construction project, regardless of size or duration. It will ensure that both the traveling public and construction crews get home safely every day.

Don’t Distract Drivers

While speeding is often a contributing factor in work zone crashes, distracted drivers are also at risk. Texting, changing radio stations, talking on the phone, and interacting with passengers are all common distractions that make it difficult for a driver to keep their attention on the road.

Texting while driving is especially dangerous in work zones. Typically, a driver is not paying attention for more than five seconds when reading a text message. Even hands-free devices, which are meant to help prevent distracted driving, can distract a driver and compromise reaction time.

In fact, a study found that drivers who are using their phones while driving have slower reaction times and miss visual cues. They also have trouble scanning the road for obstacles.

Another way to keep drivers focused on the road is to use speed display signs and speed enforcement cameras. These systems are designed to remind drivers to slow down, which can reduce fatalities and injuries in work zones.

If a driver is going too fast, the system will issue a ticket to them. This will make them think twice about speeding next time they’re in a work zone.

In addition to speed display signs and speed enforcement cameras, automakers are adding technology to cars that can detect a driver’s distraction and alert them to it. These systems can be as simple as warnings that a crash is imminent, or as complex as collision avoidance. In any case, these technologies are a good start to making work zones more efficient for everyone. They can also increase safety in the surrounding area by keeping drivers alert and focused on the road. Distracted drivers can cause crashes that damage vehicles and injure or kill workers.

Keep Your Eye on the Road

While you might think of work zone safety as protecting the people working to build and repair our roads, highways and bridges, a majority of crashes in work zones involve drivers and passengers. That’s why National Work Zone Awareness Week is a reminder to all of us that we need to keep an eye on the road at all times.

This is especially true in roadway work zones, where lane closures, traffic pattern shifts and detours create unsafe conditions that require extra caution. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 100 workers die each year in work-zone collisions, and the number of drivers killed is on the rise.

One of the most common causes of these crashes is driver impatience. So, slow down, watch for signs and obey them.

Another cause of work zone crashes is distracted driving. So, avoid cell phone use, eating and drinking, and other distractions that can take your attention from the road.

In addition, new research suggests that longer eye glances away from the roadway could increase the risk of a crash among novice teenage drivers. In the study, 42 newly licensed teenage drivers were instrumented with cameras, accelerometers, GPS, and other devices to collect data on their driving behaviors for 18 months.

Video footage of the 6 seconds prior to each crash or near-crash (CNC) and randomly sampled non-CNC road segments were coded for the duration of eye glances off the forward roadway and the presence of secondary task engagement.

The findings suggest that long eye glances are a significant contributing factor to work zone crashes, regardless of whether the secondary task was distracting the driver. That’s why education and policy should discourage long eye glances in work zones, particularly for novice drivers.

Stay Alert

Work zones are essential for improving roadways, but they can also be frustrating to drivers who are trying to get to work or make their daily errands. While roadwork can be difficult to navigate, drivers can increase their safety and efficiency by taking a few simple steps.

One of the most important things drivers can do to improve their experience in work zones is to stay alert. Situations can change rapidly, traffic could slow or stop unexpectedly, traffic lanes might merge, and workers and equipment might enter the roadway.

The best way to stay alert is to keep your eyes on the road and follow speed limits. This will help you avoid causing accidents and other road hazards.

Drivers can also receive digital alerts from compatible Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, RAM and Waze vehicle infotainment systems or popular mobile navigation applications such as Google Maps and Apple Maps that provide advance warning of upcoming work zone intersections or other events. This can be especially helpful during rush hour and on the weekends when traffic is at its busiest.

Using this technology, drivers can receive an advance warning of any traffic problems or work zones that may be in the vicinity, giving them enough time to slow down and maneuver more safely. These safety alerts will improve traffic flow and reduce delays for everyone involved, including workers, contractors and motorists.

In addition, the use of positive protection devices such as concrete barriers and truck-mounted attenuators can separate highway workers from drivers, reducing the risk of collisions. The LHSFNA supports expanding the use of these physical devices as well as newer methods to protect workers, including emerging digital alert technology.