Driving safety in work zones

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - When the weather starts to warm up, we say goodbye to winter and hello to construction season.

“There’s going to be a lot of roads having construction, maintenance, or any other work, so just be ready for that,” says Tyler Esh with Eau Claire County Emergency Management.

Over the last five years, car crashes in work zones have become all too common.

“There’s been 13,000 crashes and 5,000 injuries in incidents that occurred in work zones in the state,” Esh says.

In order to cut down on those crashes, he says drivers need to be vigilant.

“Follow common sense. If you see people working on the road, if you see flashing lights, slow down, pullover or move over as is the law.”

According to data from Wisconsin State Patrol, in 2019, there were nearly 25-hundred crashes in work zones on Wisconsin roadways and 18 deaths.

Last year, even with travel being down amid the pandemic, there was a work zone crash every 3 and a half hours according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation...

Esh says another problem is distracted driving.

“Don’t have a phone in your hand and just watch the road and make sure you know what’s happening because things can change pretty quickly.”

Speeding in a work zone not only costs lives, but also costs money, with fines being doubled.

“There’s different rules in place being caught speeding in a work zone or using a handheld device in a work zone,” Esh says. “Additional fines and rules are in place to prevent that to hopefully drive home the point that at the end of the day, we want to be as safe as possible.”

With the likelihood of construction being part of your daily route, Esh says it is also important to plan your trip ahead of time.

He says you can do that by checking Wisconsin 5-1-1 to find out if your travel plans include roadways under construction.

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