We all get annoyed by the seemingly endless row of orange barrels or cones marking road construction zones, but they are there for a very serious reason: safety. The purpose of the cones and barrels is not only to protect the commercial paving contractor’s employees, but also to insure the safety of drivers traveling in the work zone. 85% of those injured or killed in highway and road work zones are motorists.
According to Edgar Snyder & Associates, approximately 4,700 motorists have been killed and over 200,000 have been injured in car crashes within work zones in the last five years alone. What is the reason for this disturbing number? The Federal Highway Administration and State Departments of Transportation require stringent safety measures in each work zone, such as reduced speed and detailed signage. The barrels and cones and in fact, concrete medians are intended to provide a certain level of safety for both paving company workers and motorist.
In addition to required safety measures taken by commercial paving companies, according to the National Motorist Association, two of the most important factors in avoiding work zone accidents are attentive drivers and smooth traffic flow. Generally, flagmen and lighted signage assists greatly in keeping the traffic moving but it only takes one motorist ignoring the rules to increase risk of accident and injury.
Yes, those barrels are annoying when you just want to get where you’re going, but they aren’t intended to make your day. They are there to protect you. Commercial paving contractors are not only looking out for their own safety, but the safety of those motorists within a work zone. The next time those barrels or a flagman are on your last nerve, remember, if it wasn’t for the precautions taken by commercial pavers, driving in work zones would be far more dangerous.