Road construction is a fact of life, especially in the United States. While motorists may dislike having to travel through a construction zone, road repair has to happen. From fixing potholes to adding highway lanes and bridge maintenance, it’s essential to make these and other construction sites safe for workers, pedestrians, and everyone using the road.
Construction zones can be deadly. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 56 worker-pedestrians are killed every year when they’re struck by vehicles in work zones. However, the highest percentage of deaths in construction sites happens to the drivers of motor vehicles—more than 60 percent.
Place Traffic Cones and Rumble Strips
Visual signals like traffic cones and rumble strips can help improve safety for drivers, pedestrians, and workers in construction zones. Cones are ideal for the blockade of a problem area, like a hole in the road or severe ditch drop-off. Use cones to create barriers between workers and moving vehicles as well as around accident sites and when establishing lane closures for any reason. Rumble strips can also be used to help merge traffic for safety as well.
In a report from the Federal Highway Administration, it’s stated, “Centerline rumble strips (CLRSs), shoulder rumble strips (SRSs), and edge line rumble strips (ELRSs) are proven safety countermeasures intended to alert drivers when they leave the roadway across the center line or edge line through the generation of noise and vibration.”
Temporary portable rumble strips (TPRSs) work the same way and also are considered proven safety countermeasures when used in construction zones. The noise and vibration make an impact, alerting the driver that action is needed. It’s instinctual for the driver to slow down when encountering a rumble strip. That slowing of speed is a key factor in improving safety in a roadway work zone.
Close a Lane
Depending on the repairs or construction project, lane closure may need to be considered. Motorists may grumble about lane closures, especially during rush hour, but safety has to be a priority and simply, some projects are too big and need space.
Lane closures should never be considered lightly as this procedure can have a far-reaching impact. It will likely slow traffic, create a merging bottleneck at the traffic’s highest flow, and can affect secondary road usage. If the lane closure comes before an exit or forces a detour, nearby businesses, residential blocks, schools, and more can be affected as well, which could require the dispatch of extra personnel in these areas.
Provide Speed Feedback
When measures are taken to alert drivers of workers on the road and construction sites nearing, studies have shown that average speeds in those work zones typically decrease by at least three miles per hour to as much as seven miles per hour. Speed radar displays have proven effective at reducing speeds in construction and non-construction zones, and increasing safety through speed awareness has never been easier.
At Kustom Signals, we offer portable and permanent pole-mounted RADAR displays that are ideal for improving safety for motorists traveling through a construction site. It’s been proven that reducing speed can significantly reduce the risk of fatalities when a construction worker or pedestrian is struck by a moving vehicle. While eliminating all accidents in construction zones is an endgame, it has to begin with reducing fatalities, and speed feedback is an effective measure.
Station an Officer by the Site
As we’ve established, the safety precautions needed for a construction zone can vary greatly. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to station an officer by the site in addition to other protocols like cones, rumble strips, and variable message signs (VMS). While stationing an officer at a site may not always be the most cost-effective method, it could be the one that saves lives.
For more information on speed feedback products, like RADAR displays and VMS, request a quote from Kustom Signals today.