April 26–30 is National Work Zone Awareness Week. As lineworkers and road crews do their jobs to help the community, Hendricks Power Cooperative asks drivers to do their part in keeping workers, themselves and their passengers safe when driving through work zones.
Spring has arrived with its profusion of color: whites and pinks and orange — as in the orange of work zones.
National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 26-30. The focus of the week: reminding motorists to be careful around the men and women whose jobs put them along roadways and into harm’s way. But not all work zones are for road repair. Electric cooperative line crews also work along the roadsides to build, repair and maintain electric power lines. Sometimes, crews can be around the next corner or just over the hill — day or night.
“While routine line work is done during daylight hours, emergencies can happen at any time,” said Chris Gearld, Safety Director at Hendricks Power. “We want to remind motorists our crews can be out there working at any hour and to be careful when they see warning signs and flaggers.”
When motorists see the orange diamond-shaped work zone warning signs and vehicles with the flashing amber lights, they should slow down and prepare for the zone ahead.
Indiana law requires motorists to approach cautiously and change lanes away from emergency vehicles if they can do so safely. If not, they should reduce their speed to 10 mph under the posted speed limit and proceed with caution. The Indiana State Police said motorists should not stop in the roadway; this may cause a chain reaction rear-end collision with other vehicles.
Emergency vehicles protected by the law include:
• Police vehicles
• Fire trucks and rescue equipment
• Highway incident-response vehicles
• Highway maintenance vehicles
• Utility service vehicles
• Tow trucks
Violating the law can result in a fine and a suspended license. Steeper penalties, including jail time, are enforced for infractions within highway work zones.
Though move-over laws are only for emergency vehicles, the Indiana State Police says drivers should always be courteous to those parked on the shoulder. Give them room to safely repair their vehicles and help prevent tragedies.
“Working on energized power lines up in the air at all hours and in all kinds of weather is dangerous enough for lineworkers,” added Gearld. “We ask folks to please not make it more dangerous by speeding so closely by them.
Sources: Indiana State Police, Workzonesafety.org, moveoverlaws.com