LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, and area officials want to make sure Michigan drivers are staying safe.
Gregg Brunner, the chief operations officer with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), said work zone related incidents happen everyday.
According to MDOT, three of their workers and 13 drivers were killed in Michigan construction zones just last year alone, and Brunner said there was just a fatal incident over the weekend.
Brunner has personally experienced the dangers of working in construction sites. He used to do bridge inspections, and would be out in the field looking at bridges and making sure everything’s safe, while putting himself at risk.
“I was on the shoulder looking up at the bridge and I got brushed by a car that was driving as fast as 70 mph on the side of the freeway. That was a real eye opener for me,” Brunner said.
According to MDOT, safe driving tips that lower the risk of work zone related accidents start with expectation changes.
Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may change, and workers, vehicles, or equipment may enter without warning.
Also, it’s important to minimize distractions and dedicate your full attention to the road. MDOT said to avoid using phones and other distracting things while driving in a work zones, and obey workers & signs.
Furthermore, they recommend to not speed or tailgate, as it is dangerous and fines double for speeding in a Michigan work zone.
MDOT recommends to pay attention, as vehicles may slow, stop, or change lanes unexpectedly in a work zone.
Lastly, MDOT experts said to be patient & calm. MDOT said work zones are not there to inconvenience you. They are necessary to improve our roads and make your future drive better.
Brunner said there are two things that will make the most difference, regarding safety.
“Typically work zones have a reduced speed limit that is set up, but we still see people continue to speed through our work zones, which can be dangerous for everybody. The other big thing we’ve seen is distracted driving though our work zones, and where that’s tough is work zones can change day-to-day depending on the operations,” Brunner said.
Brunner said once you see those work zone signs, pay attention while driving through. He said it’s one of the biggest things you can do to stay safe.