Who hasn’t been zipping along when all of a sudden traffic slows to a halt?
When it does, you can bet on one of two things: There was an accident or there’s construction.
Road work is often the culprit in the warmer months. You probably already know that it’s important to stay at or below the posted limits when you’re in a work zone, not to mention, many states will ticket you for speeding in a construction zone. Yet there are a few other tips worth keeping in mind in order to keep you, your car and workers safe when you’re driving through a work zone.
- Check ahead for delays. Visit your state’s department of transportation website or tune into a radio station that reports on the traffic to get a head’s up on expected delays. You can then consider avoiding a work zone by getting the scoop and mapping out a different route before you leave home.
- Reduce distractions. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be driving distracted or playing on your phone. Extra attention is needed when driving through a work zone, so lower the radio or kill it altogether.
- Merge when it's safe. When traffic is moving at highway speeds and there aren't backups, it makes sense to move sooner to the lane that will remain open. Otherwise, merge alternately into the lane, or in "zipper fashion."
- Leave lots of room between vehicles. You should be able to count out at least two seconds from when the car in front of you passes an object and when you do.
- Never pass on the shoulder or drive across the median. This puts workers in danger—and is often illegal.
- Keep your cool when it comes to tailgaters. No one likes a tailgater. If you get one behind you, resist the urge to lay on the brakes. Instead, pull over and let the speed demon pass. If that’s not possible (or you’re just plain not willing to pull over), turn your headlights on and off a few times to warn the tailgater. At night, it’s okay to give your brakes a light tap.
You never know how long it can take to make it through a work zone. So do your best to relax and to stay alert until you’re in the clear.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen in work zones – and that fender bender might cost more than you think. Having the right auto insurance coverage can make all the difference when you need it. A local Erie Insurance agent can help you review your policy or get an auto insurance quote.
This story was originally published in 2016. It was updated with new information in 2019.