RULES OF THE ROAD
(State of Colorado)
8. Safe driving tips
8.13. Construction zones
Every year drivers are faced with highway construction and maintenance projects, which are designed to improve the efficiency and safety of our transportation systems. Every construction or maintenance operation creates a work zone with equipment, workers, and, in some cases, daily changes to the road that you may be used to driving. In advance of these projects are signs, cones, and other devices designed to warn you of the upcoming changes and hazards associated with the road construction. These changes and additions require you to stay alert and focused at all times while driving.
Large construction projects can have complex work zones with flaggers, portable concrete barriers, complicated directional signing, and reduced speed limits to safely direct you through the work zone. The reduced speed limits are critical because they give drivers more time to understand and react to the information and reduced speed allows more time to safely drive through the complex assortment of devices, workers, and equipment. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely separate drivers from these work zone hazards, which places the construction crews at additional risk. Not only are these workers dealing with construction dangers associated with heavy equipment, excavation, power lines, and other activities but they are constantly on guard for vehicles that may stray into the work area. Your safety, your passenger’s safety, and the safety of these workers depends on you.
Of the 1267 road construction related deaths nationally since 1992, 147 happened in Colorado. Because of this, increased police enforcement is routinely added to construction projects. In order to ensure drivers understand the importance of complying with signs and directions given in work zones, the fines have been doubled for most of the violations that occur in these work zones.
So, remember when driving on Colorado’s highways, if you encounter a work zone, for your own safety and the safety of the workers:
1. Pay attention, use extra caution and stay focused on the driving task
2. Obey all construction signs (including work zone speed limit signs) and flagger instructions
3. Watch the vehicle in front of you (most work zone crashes are rear-end collisions due to an inattentive driver)
4. Drive calmly and avoid entanglements with aggressive drivers
5. Remember to require all occupants to buckle-up. This includes making sure children are in the back seat and also properly secured in the vehicle.