Mark your calendars, folks: National Work Zone Awareness Week will soon be upon us!
In 2019, April 8 through April 12 has been designated National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). According to the program’s official website, NWZAW is “an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones.” One of the major sponsors of NWZAW is the American Traffic Safety Services Association or ATSSA.
At Transline, we’re definitely in favor of promoting better conditions for people working in the road construction industry, so we’re happy to show our support for NWZAW. If you’d like to join us, here are a few ways that you can raise awareness for the cause:
- Attend an Event. People who will be in Washington, DC on the morning of April 9th can hit up the District Department of Transportation’s NWZAW Kickoff event, which will be held at the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Meanwhile, folks interested in a more local shindig can stop by the 2019 Centerline Open House on April 11th, which will take place in Grand Prairie, Texas. In addition to showcasing (and demoing) Centerline products, the open house will feature food, raffles, and information about road safety equipment and techniques.
- Dress for Success. April 10th is “Go Orange Day”; make a point to wear orange clothing (or accessories) on that Wednesday to show your support for roadway workers. Be ready to talk about NWZAW with anyone—be they a stranger or somebody you already know—who approaches you and asks, “Why the heck are so many people wearing orange today?” Colorful clothing is a great way to start a conversation!
- Talk on Social Media. You can tag the ATSSA in your posts using @ATSSATraffic on Facebook and @ATSSAHQ on Twitter. Individual posts can also be tagged #orange4safety and/or #NWZAW. If you’d like to contribute to the discussion but aren’t sure what to say, you can always browse the tags and retweet or share posts written by other people—especially work zone crash survivors and their loved ones.
Now, with that said, the absolute best way to celebrate NWZAW is to be a careful, safe driver when you’re passing through work zones, now and in the future.
You can even take it one step beyond by encouraging your friends and family members to do the same! After all, driving safely in a work zone isn’t exactly rocket science—any licensed driver can pull it off if you keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Pay attention. When you enter a work zone, you should always be on the lookout for warning signs, flaggers, and changes to regular traffic patterns. These areas can be both confusing (“Wait, we’re all supposed to go to the left now? Yesterday, we all had to go to the right!”) and fascinating (“Are they widening the roadway or just restriping it? Oh, I think they’re adding a traffic circle up there.”), so it’s very easy to get distracted. Combat this by making a conscious effort to stay alert!
- Exercise defensive driving techniques. Rules like “Don’t speed,” “Don’t tailgate,” and “Wear your seatbelt” are important to follow each and every time you find yourself operating a motor vehicle. However, they’re especially important while traveling through an area of road construction. The first two can help mitigate the likelihood of getting into an accident (statistically speaking, rear-end collisions are the most common type of vehicle crash to occur in work zones), while the third will reduce your risk of serious injury if an accident does occur.
- Be patient (and plan ahead). It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re driving through a work zone, especially if you’re in a hurry. But aggravation at having to take a detour or wait for a flagger to wave you forward is not an excuse to act irate or put other people’s safety at risk! These days, there are plenty of resources (traffic apps, radio stations, websites, and news programs) for motorists seeking information about road construction and how it may affect their commute. Whenever possible, give yourself some extra time to get to your destination or take an alternate route. And when you get caught “off-guard,” try to keep a cool head.
The official slogan for NWZAW 2019 is “Drive Like You Work Here.” That’s an important sentiment to remember the next time you catch yourself grumbling about construction projects complicating your drive…or find yourself tempted to ignore a flagger or speed through a work zone. The folks you see laboring on our highways and roadways are just as human as you are, complete with their own lives and families. And at the end of the day, they’d like to get home in one piece! So let’s all do what we can to keep each other safe.
For more information about NWZAW, including the history of the event and ways to order promotional materials, please refer to the official websites for National Work Zone Awareness Week and the American Traffic Safety Services Association. And, as always, follow the Transline blog for the latest in industry news and product information.