Recent collisions have severely injured or even killed state highway workers while they were serving the public — injuries and deaths that could have been prevented, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
This is why, ahead of the busy Independence Day travel holiday, leaders from WSDOT, the Washington State Patrol and industry partners are asking drivers to do their part when they travel this summer by staying alert and not driving distracted or impaired.
According to the WSDOT’s website, drivers generally don’t think they are at risk in work zones, but they’re wrong. Washington state averages almost 726 highway work zone injuries each year, and 94 percent of the people injured or killed in work zone collisions are drivers and their passengers.
According to the WSDOT, the top three causes of work zone crashes are distracted-inattentive driving, following too closely and speeding. Distracted or inattentive drivers are not prepared for sudden slow downs and last-minute lane changes in work zones.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure highway workers return to their homes and families at the end of the day:
• Slow down: Drive the posted speeds. W
orkers are out there helping to keep motorists safe and improve the roadways.
• Pay attention to workers directing you and to surrounding traffic. Put the phone down when you’re behind the wheel.
• Stay calm: Expect delays, leave early, or take an alternate route if possible. No meeting or appointment is worth risking someone’s life.
Real-time traffic information is available at wsdot.com/traffic or by dialing 511.