Last month we shared the story of the tragedy that came with two years of roadwork and bridgework on I-80 in Illinois. During the two years of construction work on the Mississippi River Bridge, eight people were killed in traffic accidents related to the construction zones. While road construction work is inherently dangerous, it is also necessary to keep our interstates and highways well maintained. It is extremely important that drivers understand the important of safe driving when confronted with roadwork and construction zone.

Here’s what every driver should keep in mind when driving into a road construction area:

•    Be alert. This is no time for distracted driving. Keep both hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind focused on the task at hand.
•    Do not speed. Yes, it is annoying to slow down to 45 or even 25 miles per hour while traveling on the interstate. However, the low speed limits are in place for a very, very good reason. Road construction zones are dangerous, and those dangers increase quickly with speed.
•    Be prepared for anything. A lot takes place during road repairs and improvements. Be prepared for lane changes, closed lanes, shifting lanes, large equipment, and pedestrians.
•    Don’t tailgate. Because unpredictable things can happen in work construction zones, the person in front of you may need to slow down or stop suddenly. Be prepared for this by giving the vehicle in front of you plenty of room.
•    Read signs and listen for updates. There are a lot of things going on in a construction zone, but road crews do their best to keep you up-to-date on what is happening. Signs will let you know when there will be lane changes, whether the speed limit has changed, and when the work zone has ended. The news and radio will let you know whether roadwork will be taking place and if there are faster alternative routes.