Driving Safely in Road Work Zones

The summer road construction season is here with road works happening all around Ruapehu and drivers need to be prepared. Whether you’ve been driving for decades or got your driver’s license last week, the tips below are important reminders to make sure you and road construction workers get home safely.

1. Expect the unexpected in road construction zones.

Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed and people and vehicles may be working on or near the road.

2. Be alert and pay attention to the signs.

Look out for and obey traffic warning signs that are posted in advance of road construction projects.

3. Comply with any directions given by the road crew.

Stay alert and be prepared to obey any directions given by the road crew. 

4. Be patient in road construction zones.

Construction zones aren’t there to personally inconvenience you. They’re necessary to improve the roads for everyone. Please have patience.

5. Use the “Take 10” technique to change lanes.

Flashing arrow panels or “lane closed ahead” signs mean you need to merge as soon as safely possible. Don’t zoom right up to the lane closure and then try to barge in. If everyone cooperates, traffic moves more efficiently. The “Take 10” technique involves putting on your turn signal at least three seconds before starting a lane change and using at least seven seconds to complete the lane change, looking at your mirrors throughout.

6. Slow down — don’t drive too fast for conditions.

Slow down and drive to the conditions. Road work zones have loose metal which can break windows or injure road crews. 

7. Drive defensively — don’t follow too close.

The most common crash in a work zone is the rear-end collision. Remember to leave seven seconds of braking distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Most rear-end accidents occur because of following too close and traveling too fast for conditions.
Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, construction equipment and construction workers. Just like you, road workers want to return home safely after each day’s work.

8. Obey the posted signs until you’ve left the work zone.

Some work zones — like line painting, road patching and mowing — are mobile, moving down the road as the work is finished. Just because you don’t see the workers immediately after you see the warning sign doesn’t mean they’re not out there.

9. Expect delays; plan for them and leave early.

Agencies use many different ways to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. Often, the agencies will suggest a detour to help you avoid the work zone entirely. Plan ahead, stay alert and stay safe so you get home safely. ​

Plan ahead, stay alert and stay safe so you get home safely. 

For State Highways make use of the NZTA online Plane Your Trip service. 

For scheduled local road works information including mowing and resealing see the menu on the left side of this page. 

Page reviewed: 16 Jan 2019 8:34am