Orange barrel alert: It’s Work Zone Awareness Week

Warmer weather and the recent storms mean more construction zones that can be particularly dangerous for roadside workers.

According to AAA’s Lori Weaver Hawkins, between 2012 and 2021 in West Virginia alone 41 people were killed in work zones. Nationwide in 2022, nearly 900 lost their lives. And in 2023 five were killed in work zones. She says it’s a huge problem.

“And this year, already in 2024 we’ve had two people injured in March, one of them seriously,” said the public affairs manager. “On the morning of April 4, we had a vehicle coming at a high rate of speed at Highway 340 and ended up hitting the woman who was working as the flagger. Unfortunately, she was trapped under that vehicle and died of her injuries.”

It’s a reminder that all year round we need to be focused on our driving and obey speed limits when entering a work zone.

Even if you’ve been through an area, the configuration of the lanes can change from day to day.

“Obey the flaggers when they’re directing you, the flashing signs if they’re there,” Hawkins said. “Hone in on that roadway because there are people out on foot working, there are pedestrians, bicyclists possibly if you’re within the city. Don’t ignore those reduced speed limits; those are there for a reason.”

She says if you can’t handle waiting your turn at the work zone then avoid the work zone.

“Better off for the workers if you’re gonna be just aggressive and speeding through there and put their lives in danger, just go a different route,” said the public affairs manager. “So know before you go.”

Concerned about getting to your destination safely, Hawkins recommends a free app (like Waze) that alerts you to work zones or look at the Department of Transportation website. She says there’s no excuse for speeding and not noticing traffic at a standstill.

“And having a tragedy occur like we saw earlier this month,” she said.

Sponsored Content