Did you know that this week was National Work Zone Awareness Week? Not many people might know of this. And yet it is perhaps one of the most critical weeks that we have to keep lives safe.
A few facts that you should know:
- In 2020, there were almost 5000 fatal work injuries in the US alone. And yes, lack of work zone awareness did cause some of these.
- The economic cost of work zone accidents is over $17 billion annually.
- And nearly 40% of pedestrian fatalities that occurred in a work zone were highway workers.
Without question, the statistics are eye-opening and tragic. This is the reason National Work Zone Awareness Week exists. This week aims to make people aware, get people to think about where they drive and how they are driving, and encourage people to be mindful of those working in a work zone.
Why Should You Pay Attention to National Work Zone Awareness Week?
It is just common sense. Many of us are busy, and many of us lead hectic lives. We zip along to work or school or run errands, and we sometimes lose sight of what is happening around us. Particularly when it comes to work zones, people are not paying enough attention. And as a result, accidents, sometimes fatal accidents, happen.
National Work Zone Awareness Week was designed to get drivers to focus, stay alert, and be aware of their surroundings. If it is possible for you to move over a lane and therefore leave room for roadway workers to get their jobs done, you should do so. Think of the teams of workers that mow, repair roads and potholes, and work on bridges—are you paying attention to them? Are you giving them the cushion they need? Are you slowing down enough to ensure everyone’s safety on the road?
Things You Can do During National Work Zone Awareness Week
So what might you do during this particular week to make a difference?
Slow down. Pay attention to the speed limit in a designated work zone area. And then be sure to go that speed limit, if not slower. Cars rushing through work zones and not heeding work zone traffic notations are among the leading causes of fatalities.
Give workers room. Without causing any harm or injury to others, you should do so if you can give workers more room. Therefore think of how you would feel working on a highway with cars rushing by you.
Focus on drums, cones, and other barriers. Please pay attention to the road markings and what is being laid out to protect the workers as they do their jobs. These are put in place for a reason. Too many times, people ignore these or even run into them, thereby knocking them over.
Access 511 if needed. 511 is the dialing code established by the FCC that gives travelers access to vital information. This information includes details regarding work zones and highway-related projects that might be ongoing. If you can avoid these areas, do so. Cutting down on traffic in a work zone only helps the workers.
Think of a work zone as a place where someone you know works. Perhaps having more empathy for highway workers will encourage people to drive smarter through work zones. During National Work Zone Awareness Week, people need to think of highway workers as loved ones or friends. How would you want to drive through such a zone if a loved one worked there?
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