Drivers: Be extra careful in ‘cone’ zones

Yellow dandelions are popping up in yards and orange construction barrels are beginning to appear on area roads.

Driving in a construction zone can be dangerous, with narrow lanes of travel, reduced speeds and anxious drivers staying way to close to other vehicles.

More people are dying in highway construction work zones as a result of vehicle crashes, the Ohio Department of Transportation reported. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths in construction zones because of vehicle crashes doubled from eight in 2009 to 16 in 2011 in Ohio.

An ODOT analysis revealed that 56,945 vehicle crashes occurred in Ohio work zones from 2003 to 2012. Of those crashes, 20,590 happened when construction workers were present. A person is more likely to be injured or killed in a work zone on a dry and sunny August afternoon than any other time of year, ODOT reported.

The top causes of work zone crashes are speed, following too closely, failure to control and improper lane changes.

There will be a lot of cone zones this summer.

Everyone is on a tight schedule and in a hurry to get from here to there. That is until driving up to a construction zone. Riding right behind the bumper of the vehicle in front won’t result in a quicker trip through the work zone.

Traffic is slowed in a construction zone for a reason. Construction vehicles are pulling onto and off the highway. There are workers and heavy equipment operating sometimes just feet from the open lanes of travel.

Drivers have to be alert when traveling through a work zone. That means allowing enough distance between vehicles so a sudden stop can be made without a wreck.

Follow the instructions of flaggers and pay attention to construction zone signs that can warn or advise a motorist what to expect in the work zone.

Remember, speeding violations can be very costly in a construction zone.

ODOT has the best words of wisdom – how you drive keeps you alive.