7 Tips for Driving Through Construction Zones

You’ve probably heard time and again that there are four seasons in Canada: winter, construction, construction, construction. It’s a fact of life, yet we resist it every year. Here are a few tips to help you survive it.

1. Be patient

It may be tempting to drive through that empty, blocked-off lane, but don’t. The safety of workers is at stake here, plus it’s unfair to everyone who waited. In an extreme case, a flagger was run over in a construction zone in BC in 2017, allegedly because the driver, a woman, was impatient with the slow flow of traffic. (She also allegedly hit another flagger further down and was later found assaulting her own children.)

2. Observe speed limits

This is for everyone’s safety. If the construction zone you’re driving through has a posted speed limit, obey it. Remember that, if you speed through a construction zone, fines are doubled if workers are present. In addition, you can receive a fine of up to $500 and 3 demerit points if you disobey traffic control workers.

Construction zone
Construction zone

3. Listen to the morning news & give yourself extra time

Depending on the station, you can hear frequent traffic reports. They’ll warn you of any construction zones you may have to drive through en route. So, plan accordingly and give yourself extra time.

4. Use your favourite navigation app (legally)

Navigation/GPS apps can help you navigate around construction zones. But make sure you follow the law when you use them.

5. Download an audio book before you leave

You don’t have to have a subscription to an audio book service: your local library likely has access to a digital library. If you know you’ll tire of the chitchat on the radio, and your favourite podcasts won’t have a new episode until next week, an audio book can help keep you alert and kill time.

6. Pack snacks

If you spend a good hour driving to work already, and construction extends that by another half, pack a snack. You’ll have an easier time dealing with the stress of construction zones with balanced blood sugar.

7. Don’t tailgate in construction zones

Drivers have to often stop suddenly when navigating construction zones. So, keep a safe distance between you and the car in front. Tailgating won’t speed things up, and if you cause an accident, you’ve just slowed things down for everyone, including yourself.

Road work ahead sign
Road work ahead

8. Keep Your Cool

Driving through construction zones is frustrating at the best of times, but it’s usually needed to improve the roads for the future. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember when stretches of the 401 were only four lanes wide. Can you imagine what it would be like driving through that today?

Driving through construction zones requires patience, and when the rush is on to get to work, or maybe to pick up the kids from day care before you incur overtime charges, it can feel tempting to push through construction. But keep in mind the bigger picture: by following the law and workers’ instructions, you’re contributing to everyone’s safety. And you’ll get to your destination faster by not causing an accident.

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