Think safety while driving through work zones

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Obey the Orange — That’s the message being sent to drivers as Work Zone Safety Week gets underway. The nationwide campaign reminds people to use caution in work zones.

“Especially now,” said Terri Thompson of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. “Everyone has been seeing all these pot holes and everything, so we are going to have mobile crews out there trying to patch these holes. And also we have a lot of night work starting a lot of paving jobs, bigger construction jobs on the interstate that work at night.

Thompson says always expect the unexpected and pay close attention to posted speed limits.

“One of our biggest things obviously is speeding,” she said. “They’re not slowing down. We say reduce speed and we say reduce speed for a reason because there are things happening in the work zone and you may have to react quickly.”

Not being able to react quickly can put your life in danger.

“Especially around the clock where they are hitting our barriers, crash trucks or bridge elements because they are not paying attention either,” Thompson said.

The focus of Work Zone Safety Week isn’t just about drivers. It’s also about the workers at those sights who are simply doing their job.

David Ferrao knows how risky the job can be first hand. 19 years ago he was hit by a drunk driver in a work zone along I-95.

“I have issues with my lower back, it’s all muscular damage, so every day of my life now since 1995 I live with back pain,” he said.

Thompson says if you’re not paying attention in a work zone, just remember, the cops are.

“They’re looking for those distracted drivers, they’re looking for those speeders and they are pulling them over and remember when you are in a work zone fines are doubled,” she said.

For more information visit www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm‎ and facebook.com/CTWorkZoneSafety

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