MONTANA - This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, a week that reminds folks to be safe on the roads when passing through construction.
This year's theme is, "Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives."
Wednesday, April 28, is also Go Orange Day. Montana Department of Transportation is asking people show their support for work zone safety by wearing orange, snapping a photo and sharing it on social media with the hashtags #GoOrangeDay and #MontanaGoesOrange.
"This week is a big reminder that it takes a group of people to make good things happen," Jeremy Wilde, construction traffic control engineer with MDT, said. "Our folks are out there and our contractor folks are out there working on the road, and everyday there's this risk out in the work zone. The main takeaway of this week is, I want folks to remember that there's loved ones on both sides of the traffic control."
Wilde provided these tips when it comes to work zone safety:
- Don't drive distracted. Eyes should be on the road and not at the work going on.
- Follow speed limits and any other posted signs.
- Follow the next car at a safe distance, allowing about two seconds time between you two.
"It just breaks my heart when folks disregard safety when they're driving through our office," Wilde said. "Our contractors and our workers put a lot of heart and soul into making sure these work zones are safe for them and the traveling public. Just remember, those folks are there to improve the roads so when they're done and gone you have an even safer place to operate on and to get to and from. The last thing we want to have to worry about in the work zone is distracted drivers. "
Go Orange Day provides a visible reminder for work zone safety and also shows support for the families who have lost loved ones in work zone crashes.
"The scariest moment to date is losing a coworker to a driver that failed to obey our traffic control," Wilde said. "That call will forever stick in my mind. The heartache that family's going through, the loss of their loved one, it's just indescribable. It saddens me to the deepest level. Carrying that forward every day, knowing in the back of my head that we have a bunch of folks that are out there in these work zones that face that risk every day. It's truly a scary thing."
For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week, click here.