Traffic Control Safety

Traffic Control Safety



traffic control is the way you keep traffic away from the work zone and doing a lot of damage to you to equipment and to the job you're doing most highway work zones these days are in areas that have already been built either being added on to being rebuilt or simply being maintained there's fewer new construction projects going on where you're completely away from public traffic but even in these situations you're probably going to be connecting up with or or crossing existing roads so anyway you look at it you're going to be working around traffic and that's where traffic control comes in the biggest problem with traffic is that most travelers aren't expecting you to be there in the first place they're expecting a clear unobstructed path to where they're going for people who've driven the same road for many years without slowing down a work zone can be most unexpected and unwelcome so what do you do first you have to get their attention warn them that you're out there then you have to guide them quickly and safely around you that's the ideal we all know it doesn't always happen that easily the hard part is getting their attention especially if there are hills or curves that get in the way of a clear view of the road ahead if drivers can't see you around that bend or on the other side of that hill you're going to be in trouble quick the location of signs barricades and other control measures should be part of the traffic control plan developed specifically for each worksite this should be done well before anybody ever gets out to the site you've got to know what you're going to do before you go out a good thing to do is first mark the exact locations where individual signs should go then when you go out to set them up you won't be making any mistakes or be wondering if you did it right out here you'd better do it right the first time there's no room for mistakes don't forget you're the first ones out there so you're the first one somebody is going to run in to set up the first sign that traffic is going to see first then put up the rest of the signs and markers in the direction of traffic flow keep your vehicle completely off the road if the shoulders are narrow use driveways or field entrances if it's windy one person is going to have a tough time of it even in a small wind a sign can act like a sail and blow you right into the traffic and on interstates the wind is always blowing if not from natural causes then from the backwash of trucks once the lane starts to close traffic signals flaggers and pilot cars should be operating barricades or cones separating the work zone from the traffic zone our guides for traffic to know where not to go but they're also guides for you too so you know where you are in relation to that traffic they draw an imaginary line between you and the traffic trouble is anybody can cross that line in any direction at any time sometimes you have to cross that line if you do and you're not awake you might find yourself in the wrong lane at the wrong time even for an instant and an instant is all it takes flaggers are the second line of attention for drivers actually they're the first people in the work zone to face approaching traffic it's one of the most responsible jobs and construction flaggers are everyone's eyes and ears if they're playing around not paying attention just remember your life is in their hands it's one of the most responsible jobs because it's one of the most dangerous they're the ones who are going to catch the heat they've got to slow down or stop anybody who doesn't pay attention to those first warning signs if you're a flagger you might feel safer when you got several vehicles already stopped ahead of you but as that line gets longer it only adds to the possibility of a rear ender this is where most rear end accidents happen when traffic is stopped on the roadway that's why on interstates traffic through the work zone doesn't stop speeds are so fast that even when traffic just slows down it can pile up real quick traffic here can be crazy traffic racing to the lane closure vehicles backed up for miles the imaginary line separating traffic from the work zone gets broken a lot your traffic control is your first line of defense and it can't be compromised if traffic can't see your traffic control or doesn't know it's there you're gonna be in a lot of trouble real quick maintaining your controls can be a tricky situation but it has to be done any time you share the same space as traffic you're asking for trouble a 200-pound person is no match for an 80,000 pound truck the same is true between a speeding truck and a slow-moving one everyone loses in this situation if your traffic control isn't working for you it's not all bad news out there you can be safe but it's a two-way proposition safety measures such as flaggers reflective vests warning signs and lights do a good job of keeping traffic from crossing that imaginary line and research and other devices continues to improve our ability to warn approaching traffic to be on the alert more and more states are taking an active role in grabbing driver's attention and keeping it but technology and Driver incentives are only part of the answer they won't stop everybody that's where you come in ultimate ly you have to take responsibility for your own safety for instance every once in a while look over your shoulder see where you are in relation to equipment and the other people around you nothing stays the same for long in a work zone and then check out the traffic outside of your work area you don't have to do it all the time just a quick glance it doesn't sound like much but if everyone around you does the same thing at different times it just might mean having a couple of extra seconds or a couple extra steps to avoid a deadly situation it's a buddy system where everybody watches out for everybody else when the day is done and you're ready to move off the road don't forget that even though you've seen a thousand vehicles pass you by all day long that next guy coming toward you is seeing you for the first time and may not even realize you're there so keep the early warning signs up as long as possible remove your traffic control towards the oncoming the last sign you put up should be the first you take down last up first down and if you've cleared the road and you're coming back tomorrow to reset your traffic control don't leave your signs up if there isn't anything for drivers to watch out for don't warn them don't cry wolf if you do drivers won't believe you the next time they see the warning and you'll be the sorrier for it the point is you can be safe out there but only when you help the public keep out of your way by giving them fair warning of where you are and you can be safe when you keep out of the public's way by knowing where you are and knowing what's going on around you at all times there's not much room to make a mistake

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