Work Zone Questions
Who is at most risk in a road work zone? A driver or a road worker?
You may be surprised to learn that, on average, 85 percent of all deaths in work zones are drivers and passengers in cars. You should also know that, during daytime, half of all crashes in active work zones are rear-end crashes. (More Facts and Statistics.)
That is why you are likely to see a chapter about work zones in your driver handbook. That is also why questions about work zones may appear on your written DMV test. Work zone safety cannot be emphasized enough.
Always Obey Signs and Signals
The presence of a construction and maintenance zone on the road can be annoying and delay your trip. But it is important to take extra care and obey all signs and signals.
They must be obeyed even if you do not see any workers on the road or because you don’t believe there is any ongoing work.
There are several common signs in work zones that you must be able to identify and obey. Do you know all the signs below?
You probably already know that road signs in a temporary work zone always are orange. Something you should definitely remember for your DMV test.
Flashing arrow boards may indicate reduced lanes, a detour, or crossover. Lane markings on the road, traffic cones, barrels or barricades will outline the path you must follow.
You should also know the meaning of this arrow board.
It is a warning signal that tells you to use caution. Such a warning may also consist of an alternating diamond pattern.
Merge well before you reach any lane closure. You should not zoom right up to the lane closure, then try to force your way in. It may trigger aggressive driving by others.
Be Alert and Pay Attention
At first sight of orange signs or devices on the road, avoid any distractions. You need to be fully alert and concentrated on your driving. It is likely that traffic will slow down, or even stop, further down the road. Look well ahead of your vehicle and pay attention to signs.
If your cell phone rings, ignore it. This is certainly not the time for a phone call or text message, regardless of what the law in your state says and even if you use hands-free devices.
Most work zones have reduced speed. Start slowing down when warning signs alert you of a reduced speed. Remember, speeding in work zones may not only carry increased fines, but it also contributes to many accidents.
Highway patrols or local police will often provide active enforcement support in work zones. Their job is to identify and pursue traffic law violators in or around the work zone. They are less likely to be lenient with work zone offenders.
Know the consequences for speeding in a work zone in your state. Be prepared to answer a question like this:
Question: If you are convicted of speeding through a road work zone:
A. Fines may be doubled
B. Your license may be suspended
C. Both A. and B. are correct
If there is a reduced speed limit through a work zone, don’t resume normal speed until you see a roadway sign indicating the end of the work zone or see the normal black-and-white speed limit sign indicating a higher speed.
Fines for speeding in work zones may be doubled. Such zones are indicated by additional signs. These signs may also come with a plaque saying, “When Workers are Present”.
This means that fines are doubled only when workers are present, but you must still obey the speed limit.
Remember, speed limits are set for different reasons, not only because workers may be present. Even if you don’t see workers in a work zone, signs and signals must always be obeyed.
As you remember from the beginning of this article, rear-end crashes are the most common type of collision in work zones. Be sure to keep enough distance to any vehicles ahead. Tailgating in work zones is extremely dangerous. The vehicle ahead of you may slow down or stop suddenly because of an obstacle, workers working close to travel lanes, irregular pavement surfaces, lane shifts, pavement edge drop-offs, or narrow lanes.
Watch traffic around you and be prepared to react, be especially aware of brake lights.
If you are being tailgated, your best action is not to speed up but to slow down!
It is also a good idea not to use cruise control when driving through a work zone.
Use Your Headlights
Low beam headlights make it easier for others to see you. Turn them on. In some states it is required by state law, but you should use even if it isn’t the law in your state.
At night, you should be prepared to use high beam headlights whenever necessary. High beams help you see further down the road. But be careful not to blind others with your high beams.
Avoid Unnecessary Lane Changes
Stay in your lane. Change lanes only where pavement markings indicate that it is allowed, and only when traffic conditions permit. Solid white lines are used to mark stretches where changing lanes is discouraged and/or prohibited.
Flaggers Must Be Obeyed
At some construction areas, flaggers may be posted to control traffic flow. To stop traffic, a flagger extends a fluorescent orange/red flag in a horizontal position into the line of traffic. He or she may also use a signal paddle with a stop sign. You may proceed at a reduced speed only when directed to do so by the flagger.
It is a good idea to learn what all the flagger signals mean, even if they won’t show up on your final test. Can you identify all three?
Remember, if flagger signals aren’t described in your state’s handbook, they are not on the test. But it is still helpful for your everyday driving if you know them.
Understand the Stripes on Barricades and Panels
Most of the time it is easy to follow the instructions given by signs and markings in a work zone. After all, they are designed to help you navigate through a work zone as smoothly as possible.
Even if you intuitively know how to pass panels and barricades in a work zone, some basics can be good to know.
The orange diagonal stripes on a panel or barricade have a specific meaning. They always guide you and tell you on which side you must pass.
Stripes sloping downward to the right mean you must pass on the right side of the panel or barricade. If they angle down to the left, they mean that you must pass on the left side.
Sometimes you may see two barricades together, one with stripes angle down to the right, and one with stripes down to the left. In this situation, you may pass on either side of the barricades.
If they are put together with stripes slanting down to the center, the roadway is closed to traffic! An additional sign “Road Closed” is usually posted on the barricade or nearby. Do not drive past the barricades.
Check Your Knowledge
A. Slow down
B. Use Caution
C. Merge right
D. Merge left or right
A. Avoid tailgating
B. Watch for workers and work equipment
C. Both A and B are correct
D. Pull over
A. Flagger ahead
B. Stop ahead
C. Detour ahead
D. Closed roadway
A. Only when workers are present
C. Unless it is safe to go faster
D. Only during the daytime
A. A yellow warning sign ahead of the work zone
B. Red pavement markings in the center of the highway
C. Black and white signs guiding the motorists through the work zone
D. Orange cones, barrels, and signs where road construction is taking place
A. Rear-end crash
B. Single vehicle crash
C. Head-on crash
D. Worker-vehicle crash
A. Do Not Enter, No Parking, and One way
B. Wrong Way, Yield, and Hospital
C. No Right Turn, Pass with Care, and Speed Limit
D. Detour, Road Construction Ahead, and Flagger Ahead
A. On the left side
B. On the right side
C. On either side
D. On no side (you must turn around)
Question 1: Correct answer is merge left or right.
Question 2: Both A and B are correct.
Question 3: Correct answer is slow.
Question 4: Correct answer is orange.
Question 5: Correct answer is Flagger ahead.
Question 6: Correct answer is Always.
Question 7: Correct answer is Orange cones, barrels, and signs where road construction is taking place.
Question 8: Correct answer is Rear-end crash.
Question 9: Correct answer is Detour, Road Construction Ahead, and Flagger Ahead.
Question 10: Correct answer is On the right side.
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