Work Zones Are a Sign to Slow Down

Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down

Another historic year of construction means extra attention required at all times.
With construction season ramping up across the state, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police, Illinois Tollway, industry partners and frontline construction workers joined forces today for National Work Zone Awareness Week. During another historic year of construction in Illinois, the public is urged to put down the devices, keep their eyes on the road at all times and remember that “Work Zones Are a Sign to Slow Down.”  

“Entering Year Four of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital program, with a boost from the new federal infrastructure package, you will be seeing active projects all across the state,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Whatever your mode of transportation, if you are traveling in Illinois this year, you will be passing through work zones. The people behind the cones and barricades are someone’s father, mother, son, daughter, friend or neighbor. Please slow down and give them room to work, for your safety and ours.”  
The year’s theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week is “Work Zones Are a Sign to Slow Down,” reinforcing the message that the sight of signs alerting you to upcoming construction means decrease your speed and proceed with caution. To call attention to the potential dangers of work zones, Gov. Pritzker has proclaimed April 11-15 as “Work Zone Safety Awareness Week” in Illinois. 
At all times, the public should be ready for lane closures, changes in traffic patterns, reduced speed limits and the presence of workers and equipment. To promote safety in the field this week, IDOT is once again promoting “tailgate talks” among its staff to give workers refreshers on work zone protocol.  
“As we head into road construction season, the Illinois State Police urges people to slow down, pay attention and be cautious when driving through construction zones,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.  “Speeding and being careless while in work zones puts your life, the lives of your passengers, and the lives of workers at risk.  Be responsible and slow down.”

Each year, more than 6,700 motor vehicle crashes on average occur in Illinois work zones, resulting in more than 1,600 injuries. In 2021, 25 people died in work zones in Illinois, none of which were workers, the first time that’s happened since 2015.

“Safety is always our top priority and we’re constantly looking for ways we can make work zones on our roads safer for everyone, but we need partners to join us in these efforts,” said Illinois Tollway Interim Executive Director Lanyea Griffin. “Our customers can assist us by taking extra precautions in work zones, including slowing down and staying alert for workers and emergency responders. Help them make it safely home to their families.”

The following guidelines for traveling through work zones should be followed at all times: 

  • Drop it and drive. Phones and electronic devices down at all times – it’s the law.  
  • Obey the signs. They will help you safely navigate work zones – and sometimes avoid delays. 
  • Slow down. The posted speed limits are there for the safety of workers and you. 
  • Be on the lookout for slowed or stopped traffic. 
  • Consider the limitations of heavy equipment, trucks and commercial vehicles. Provide them extra distance to come to a complete stop if they are behind you.

A work zone can take many forms: A maintenance crew patching potholes or collecting litter, a major interstate reconstruction, a minor repair on a neighborhood street or a utility company out in the field. If you see orange, slow down and save lives.    

For additional facts, printable materials and information on projects this year in Illinois, click here or visit
Work zone safety will be another element of IDOT’s comprehensive multimedia campaign, “It’s Not a Game,” highlighting the fact that there are no extra lives, no respawns and no second chances to get it right with safety on the roads. Visit for more information.