MDOT stresses work zone safety to summer drivers

PINE BELT (WDAM) - The dangers of road construction sites can be severe. Workers, working in between the lines, are sometimes just inches from passing traffic. We talked to the Mississippi Department of Transportation about those dangers and what you can do to stay safe while on the roadways.

"First thing, speed is a huge issue in work zones," MDOT Deputy Executive Director and Chief Engineer James Williams said.

It happens everyday on Mississippi roadways. That's why MDOT is wanting to remind drivers of how important safety is when it comes to driving through work zone areas in our state.

"Slow down, pay attention to the cars ahead of you, behind you. Make sure there is enough distance," said Williams.

Williams points out it's important you pay attention to the advance road signs indicating work is happening.

"As the temperatures increase, there's a lot more workers on the road, be it contractors that work for MDOT or MDOT employees," said Williams. "The number one thing always is to not be distracted. Pay attention to those signs and not be distracted. When you are going through the work zone, look out for people, equipment, flashing lights, all of those sorts of things that are indications that something is going on ahead."

Data shows nearly 80 percent of the 765 work zone crash fatalities in the United States in 2016 were drivers or passengers, according to MDOT. Fines are doubled if you are ticketed in a work zone.

MDOT urges drivers to watch out for highway workers during summer travel and offers some safety tips to make sure everyone makes it to their destination safely.

  • Allow enough time to arrive at the destination.
  • Pay attention to road signs.
  • Slow down.
  • Watch out for flaggers.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Be patient.

For more information about work zone safety, visit GoMDOT.com/DriveSmartMS. For the most current travel and traffic information, visit MDOTtraffic.com, download the MDOTtraffic mobile app, and follow @MississippiDOT on Twitter.