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Traffic Safety Tip: Take care driving in construction zones


There are several major road construction projects currently in the Newberg-Dundee community; chief among them is the long-awaited Highway 99W Bypass project. With these ongoing highway projects, the Newberg-Dundee Police Department would like to remind drivers to remain attentive and patient while traveling through these work zones. The following are work zone safety tips are from the Oregon Department of Transportation:

Driver inattention is the No. 1 cause of vehicle crashes in Oregon work zones. That’s why drivers need to pay extra attention when driving through a roadway work area; it’s definitely not “business as usual.” There may be narrow lanes, fewer lanes or construction vehicles entering the roadway. Barrels, cones and barricades, or heavy machinery may be very close to traffic.

Driving too fast is dangerous and contributes to work zone deaths and injuries. Driving too fast for conditions in the work area is an invitation for trouble. The faster you drive the longer it takes to make a driving decision in case of a problem, the longer it takes to stop the vehicle and the greater the injury if there is a crash.

More than 40 percent of work zone crashes happen in the transition zone prior to the work area. That’s the time after the “Road Work Ahead” sign and before the actual work area. This is where there may be lanes merging or narrowing, or a detour beginning.

Although workers are very vulnerable as they work close to speeding traffic, it’s actually drivers and their passengers who are most likely to be killed or injured in traffic-related work zone crashes.

In Oregon, traffic fines double for all traffic offenses in maintenance, construction,and utility work zones at all times on all roads.

The same rules always apply in a construction zone, whether construction workers are present or not.

If you fail to yield right of way to a worker in a construction/work zone, you could be cited by law enforcement. DMV can suspend your driving privileges for recklessly endangering a highway worker.

Flaggers use hand signals to tell you to slow down, stop or which direction to travel. Obey them as you would any other traffic control.

Flashing beacons on top of highway worker vehicles are an indication to watch out for persons or obstructions in or near the roadway.

Construction, utility, or work zones may have temporary speed zones posted that can change from day to day, or even by time of day. These are posted with speed signs.

Construction or work zones may have temporary pavement markers instead of permanent pavement markings.

White lines or temporary markers separate lanes going in the same direction.

Yellow lines or temporary markers separate lanes going in opposite directions.

Newberg-Dundee Police Officers are actively patrolling the work zones in our two cities. We implore drivers to use extra caution while traveling through the work zones in order to keep themselves and the highway workers safe.

Senior Officer Huntley Miller works for the Newberg-Dundee Police Department