Drive Safe in Arlington: Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down
By Nina Sherer, Public Works and Transportation
Posted on April 13, 2022, April 13, 2022

Arlington Public Works and Transportation crew

Detours, barricades, orange cones, oh my! Anyone who has driven through Arlington has no doubt encountered a construction work zone. The Public Works and Water Utilities Departments are working to make necessary improvements to the City’s transportation and water infrastructure; however, with this progress comes construction work zones. While these work zones may be an inconvenience, they play a vital role in transforming The American Dream City.

Each spring at the start of construction season, the Federal Highway Administration, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the American Traffic Safety Services Association, coordinates and sponsors the National Work Zone Awareness campaign with the goal of educating drivers on how to save lives by avoiding preventable crashes in work zones. The theme for this year’s campaign, which takes place April 11-15, is Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2021 there were over 26,000 crashes in Texas work zones, resulting in 244 fatalities. This was a 33 percent increase from 2021 and a 40 year high. People inside vehicles accounted for most work zone crash fatalities. 195 drivers and their passengers, 38 pedestrians, four bicyclists, and three construction workers were killed in Texas last year.

Work zone safety awareness is critical, for both the men and women working on our roadways and drivers passing through the work zones. The tips below are important reminders to help ensure that you and construction crews get home safely each night:

• Plan Ahead: Check the City’s website and social media, mobile traffic apps, and the radio for the latest traffic information. Leave a few minutes earlier than normal so you can reach your destination on time.
• Be Patient: Pack your patience for any trip through a work zone and remember that any delay caused by the construction is temporary, even if it feels like it’s permanent.
• Slow Down: Speeding in work zones is one of the leading causes of work zone crashes. Follow the posted speed limit for everyone’s safety.
• Avoid Distractions: Distracted driving in a work zone is one of the leading causes of work zone crashed. Put your phone down and keep your eyes on the road.
• Expect the Unexpected: The area you drove through yesterday may look different today. Normal speeds may be reduced, traffic lanes may be shifted, and people and vehicles may be working on or near the roadway.
• Don’t Tailgate: Rear-end collisions are the most common kind of work zone crashes. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you to react to the unexpected.
• Pay Attention to Warning Signs: Pay attention to the information on the diamond-shaped orange warning signs that are posted in advance of work zones.
• Use the “Take 10” Technique to Change Lanes: A flashing arrow panel or “lane closed ahead” sign means you need to merge as soon as safely possible. Don’t drive all the way up to the lane closure and then cut in. Signal your intent to change lanes for at least three seconds, check your mirrors to ensure it’s safe to change lanes, and use approximately seven seconds to complete the maneuver.
• Obey the Road Crews: A flagger is responsible for controlling traffic in a construction zone and has the same authority as a regulatory sign. Drivers can be cited for failure to obey the flagger’s directions.
• Don’t Speed or Tailgate: Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and don’t speed. Tailgating and speeding lead to crashes with other vehicles and field workers.
• Look Out for Workers and Equipment: Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, construction workers, and construction equipment. The high visibility clothing, hard hats, and safety boots worn by road crews are all the protection they have in a man vs. vehicle incident.
• Obey Posted Signs Until You See One That Says You’ve Left the Work Zone: Some work zones are mobile, moving down the roadway as work progresses. Just because workers aren’t immediately visible after a work zone warning sign, doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.

In addition to increasing work zone awareness, TxDOT would like to remind drivers of the state’s Move Over/Slow Down law that requires drivers to move over one lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when approaching a TxDOT vehicle, emergency vehicle, law enforcement, tow truck, or utility vehicle stopped on the roadside or shoulder with its flashing lights activated. Violation of the law can result in a fine of up to $2,000.

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