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Safety Tips for Driving in California Road Construction Zones

Craig McClellan

Updated February 2016

April 12 will kick off National Work Zone Awareness Week. As construction season results in hundreds of work zones, it is important for drivers to slow down and stay aware of their surroundings. Driving through San Diego County, you’ve probably noticed workers in bright orange vests in the midst of trimming trees, repairing roads, or constructing new highways. Construction projects like the I-805 South Express Lanes Project or the expansion of I-5 keep our roads busy with plenty of traffic and activity.

Why National Work Zone Awareness Week?

As road construction zones can become commonplace, the National Department of Transportation teams up with state and local public works and transportation departments to help raise awareness about the need for safety in work zones. According to statistics, 2,700 motor vehicle fatalities took place in California in 2010. Of those, 41 deaths were caused in road construction work zones. This year’s theme is “"Don't Be THAT Driver: Work on Safety. Get Home Safely. Every Day."

How Can You Stay Safe in Construction Zones?

While you may start to get used to the sight of construction going on in the lane next to you on your commute to work, you need to make sure you stay sharp and aware of what’s going on in these zones! Some drivers can begin to tune the construction area out, forgetting to stay alert and pay attention.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when driving around construction zones:

  • Slow down. As you approach a road work zone, be sure to slow down and follow the posted speed limits. Don't forget that traffic fines in California double in work zones.
  • Watch what is going on around you. Often you may have to stop in a work zone, or sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but don't use that time to check your text messages or emails. Workers could be using heavy equipment within only feet of your car.
  • Be patient and plan ahead. It is frustrating to be stuck in traffic because of road construction, but try to prepare for it. If you know that there is a work zone between you and your destination, leave early so that traffic delays do not cause added stress.

Remember, the next time you see a work crew in orange vests, follow these tips in order to help reduce the chance of a motor vehicle accident. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident due to a negligent driver, do not hesitate to reach out to The McClellan Law Firm in San Diego.