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When it comes to driving in work zones, 'The Vest Knows Best'

What coincidental timing, too, because the Arizona Department of Transportation is marking the beginning of National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 11-15) today.

After slowing and merging near the start of the work zone, there’s the flagger with a stop/slow paddle and a fluorescent reflective vest strapped across his chest. Expertly moving traffic safely through the work zone all day, obey this person’s instructions – as ADOT’s work zone safety message declares, “The Vest Knows Best” – because lives, including yours, depend on it.

Up ahead, see that maintenance crew? The highway is their office, so please slow down and focus on the road. This ensures a safe work space for them and keeps you safe, too. That’s especially important because, statistically, motorists are far more likely to die in a work zone crash.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, drivers and passengers accounted for 82 percent of work zone fatalities nationally in 2014, the most recent year with complete data. In Arizona, the number of work zone deaths fell to 11 in 2014 after peaking at 17 in 2013. Despite this decrease in work zone fatalities, there is room for improvement

To achieve that, in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, ADOT is launching a work zone safety campaign, “The Vest Knows Best,” to protect motorists and those who build and maintain Arizona’s highways. Follow these tips when traveling through a work zone to keep everyone safe.

  • Pay attention: Observe and obey posted warning signs, as well as flaggers. You can be cited for disobeying a flagger’s directions.
  • Expect the unexpected: Speed limits might be lowered, travel lanes could be narrowed or eliminated and people may be working near your travel lane.
  • Slow down: Speeding is one of the leading causes of work zone crashes.
  • Merge safely: Do it early and carefully or as directed by signage instead of barging into a line of vehicles at the last moment.
  • Don’t tailgate: The most common crash in a work zone is the rear-end collision. Don’t follow too closely and, again, slow your speed.

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