Warmer spring weather means more road construction and work zones on the Illinois Tollway—and that means drivers need to step up their focus on safety.
The Tollway is marking National Work Zone Awareness Week from April 20-24 by urging drivers to slow down and watch out for workers, construction equipment, and unexpected changes in traffic and roadway conditions whenever they approach a work zone.
Partnering with the Federal Highway Administration and other transportation agencies, the Tollway is reminding drivers to help provide “Safe Work Zones for All: We can do it.”
“This is an unusual time for all of us. We have far less traffic in our work zones, which makes work zone safety awareness more critical than ever,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez. “Construction is still occurring all along our system, and drivers need to slow down, be alert for new traffic patterns, and always follow posted speed limits for the safety of workers, first-responders and other drivers.”
Illinois averaged more than 5,100 work zone crashes annually between 2014 and 2018. Those crashes injured nearly 1,400 people every year. Since 2015, 168 people have died in work zone crashes in Illinois.
Drivers can help reduce those numbers by taking a few simple precautions:
Slow Down: Speeding can lead to crashes with other vehicles, particularly in work zones where traffic can stop or slow down with little warning. In 2018, more than 20 percent of fatal work zone crashes involved rear-end collisions.
Always follow posted work zone speed limits, even if no workers are present.
Stay Focused: Put down your cellphone and watch the road. Work zones and traffic patterns can change daily.
Be Prepared: Before getting behind the wheel, check phone apps, the Illinois Tollway website and online information provided by other transportation agencies to determine if construction is occurring along your planned route.
If it is, consider taking a different route or changing your departure time to avoid traveling through work zones during peak travel times.
Watch for Workers: Be alert for construction workers and equipment near active traffic lanes. Obey warning signs, watch for traffic barrels and barriers indicating temporary traffic shifts.
Together, we can make work zones safer for drivers and workers.