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Construction Zone Safety: Traffic Channelization

Maintaining construction zone safety is essential for both the construction workers and the drivers moving through those zones.  According to statistics compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, there are approximately 42,000 fatalities on American roads every year, and 2% of these fatalities occur in work zones.  When you look at the number of fatalities that are caused in work zones, it equates to one death for every ten hours that people are working in those zones.  The number of injuries is even higher, averaging out to one injury every thirteen minutes.  However, the right traffic safety products can help to reduce these numbers.

Many drivers tend to crash in these areas because they find them confusing.  They may not know which direction to go when they are driving through the work zone, especially if lanes have been shifted to make room for certain types of work.  However, if traffic engineers design these areas with delineation products, it can greatly reduce the number of fatalities and injuries that occur in each zone.  Delineation products can include vertical panels, opposing lane traffic dividers, and tubular markers.  Delineators can be temporarily installed to channel traffic into the correct spots, and they can also be used to separate opposing lanes of traffic.

When engineers opt to install delineators in these areas, they need to ensure that they purchase the most effective types of traffic safety products.  Of particular importance is the need for retro-reflective material on the delineators.  Compared to daytime driving, roads have 1/3 of the traffic at night, but over half of all road accidents occur at night, despite the lesser traffic.  Essentially, this means that nighttime driving is three times as potentially fatal as daytime driving.  To prevent dangerous conditions at night, project managers should pay close attention to how well their signs can be seen by nighttime drivers.

The right traffic safety products can mean the difference between life and death.  Products that clearly tell drivers how to safely drive through these zones are an essential part of construction zone safety.  When these products are applied in a work zone, they can effectively reduce the number of fatalities and injuries.