Highway work zone safety critical for transportation companies

As the weather warms up, more cities and states across the country are starting highway and road projects that have been on hold throughout the winter. With higher temperatures on the way, initiatives to fix potholes, replace pavement, expand roads and enhance bridges are in full swing. Because road construction will be prevalent in the months ahead, it's critical for drivers to know what safety precautions to take and, if possible, for their fleet managers to employ the use of vehicle routing software that will help them avoid crowded roads undergoing repairs.

Preparing for the months ahead
As National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) kicks off, it is essential for transportation managers to be certain their drivers are not only abiding by the rules of the road, but taking all the precautionary measures necessary to protect construction teams. NWZAW is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and highlights how road construction impacts all road users, including commercial drivers, passengers, construction teams, pedestrians and cyclists. This year's NWZAW will highlight the challenges faced by all road users passing through work zones, especially when repairs are being made in an urban location. There are ways a fleet can prepare drivers for the risks and holdups associated with construction season.

• Choose the best routes. With route optimization software, managers can plan paths that allow drivers to bypass some of the worst road repairs in the area. Not only will this keep them out of traffic and ensure they make deliveries and pickups on schedule, it will also help them cut back on fuel use and miles driven.

• Review safety procedures. Drivers should regularly receive updated safety training, and the start of construction marks an excellent time for a refresher. Managers should remind drivers to stay off cellphones while passing through work areas, drive more slowly than usual and remain alert to avoid any accidents.

• Ensure vehicles are maintained. Fleets take the time to maintain vehicles, but sometimes additional summer tune-ups and checks may be necessary, particularly if a truck has driven through extreme winter weather. Performing preventative maintenance before trucks head out on the road and into construction zones can help further mitigate the risk of delays and accidents.