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Being aware of work zones

Published On: Jun 05 2013 12:38:05 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 06 2013 09:00:52 AM EDT
Being aware of work zones

40-year-old Steven Cox was cleaning up debris in a work zone when he was struck and killed by an 18-wheeler on Interstate 81 in Radford on Tuesday.

With the road work season well underway, the man's death serves as a reminder to us all, drivers need to be mindful of these workers, especially on high speed roads.

With more drivers on the road in the summertime, being careful involves more than just slowing down.

Seeing all the orange on the road has a tendency to drivers red in the face.  But imagine if these highways were your office.

Botetourt County VDOT supervisor Roy Bryant says he needs to, "Try to make sure everyone's safe going out to the work zone, setting up the work zone, working in the work zone, and breaking it down and coming back in."

Whether it's a VDOT crew or it's contractors (which Cox was), Bryant says when you see that orange, it should be a reminder to shift your attention to the road.

"The signs will tell you which way we want you to go. Just follow the signs, be careful, be alert," Bryant said.

Bryant says distracted or aggressive drivers make work zones even more dangerous.

He advises drivers to be patient, saying the earlier you pay attention to what the cones are telling you to do, the better.

"The signs are set a half a mile to a mile back before you get to the work zone, just move over then when you see the signs. And that helps the traffic flow, you're not bottlenecking traffic," Bryant added the earlier you merge to the correct lane, the better.

Workers say when you're on the road entering their office, do it keeping them in mind. 

VDOT says there were over 3,000 crashes in work zones last year injuring almost 1,600 people and killing 13.

Those numbers are down all the way around from 2011 except for the number of deaths but crews say close calls happen every day.

Exactly, when an officer has someone pulled over it's state law to switch lanes or to slow down.

Long story short, when you see the flashing lights, no matter the color, slow down.