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March of the Orange Barrels: Work Zone Safety

After the seemingly endless winter months under drab, grey skies with polar vortexes and even a “snowmageddon,” many Ohioans are giddy with delight when they see the familiar signs of spring: daffodils, robins and the NCAA Basketball playoffs.

Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Transportation heralded the long-awaited arrival of spring with this Throwback Thursday tweet:


Active construction season. The phrase sends shivers down my spine and conjures visions of that other, less-appreciated sign of spring – the orange barrel. Now, before the griping begins, don’t forget new rules require us to slow down and move over for workers.

New law to be enforced

Starting today, Ohio officials will begin enforcing the expanded “Move Over Law,” designed to protect workers in construction and maintenance crews. The law requires motorists to slow down and, as conditions permit, shift to an adjacent lane when approaching construction, maintenance and public utilities vehicles parked on the roadside with flashing, oscillating or rotating lights. Drivers found in violation of the new law can be cited with a minor misdemeanor.

Work Zone Safety Tips

At Elk & Elk, we encourage everyone to be attentive when driving, especially in work zones. While proper planning, design, and implementation are vital to a safe work zone, drivers must be attentive to changing conditions and exercise caution when approaching and travelling through a work zone.

Here are some important tips from the Federal Highway Administration to help make sure everyone gets home safely.

  1. Expect The Unexpected. Things may change overnight. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be closed, narrowed, or shifted, and people may be working on or near the road.
  2. Don’t Speed. Obey the posted speed limit at all times, even when workers are not present.
  3. Don’t tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you and the construction workers and their equipment. Rear-end collisions account for 30% of work zone crashes.
  4. Obey Road Crew Flaggers and Pay Attention To The Signs. The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely in the work zone. The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone.
  5. Stay Alert And Minimize Distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and avoid changing radio stations or using cell phones and other electronic devices while approaching and driving in a work zone.
  6. Keep Up With The Traffic Flow. Do not slow down to “gawk” at road work.
  7. Know Before You Go. Check radio, TV and websites for traffic information and schedule enough time to drive safely. Expect delays and leave early so you can reach your destination on time. (In Ohio, check out www.ohgo.com/index for real time traffic updates.)
  8. Be Patient and Stay Calm. Work zones aren’t there to personally inconvenience you. Remember, the work zone crew members are working to improve the road and make your future drive better.
  9. Wear your seatbelt. It is your best defense in a crash.
  10. Remember – Dads, Moms, Sons, Daughters, Brothers, and Sisters Work HERE!

As we embrace the warmer months, remember to leave a little extra time before hitting the road when travelling through work zones. Men and women are hard at work fixing those car-swallowing potholes, paving new roads and other important projects.