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Take the hazard out of construction zones with these driving tips

Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA)

Driving through a construction zone can be frustrating because it often results in unexpected delays, however motorists are urged to remain calm and observe the road rules as they make their way through these zones. Arriving late is better than not arriving at all.

“Construction zones are already high-risk areas, but impatient drivers elevate the risk to themselves, to workers, other motorists and pedestrians,” explains Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), an affiliate association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). “We urge drivers to be vigilant while moving through construction zones, especially during the festive season when many people might be in a hurry to get to their destination after a long road trip.”

When driving, keep an eye out for signs and other indicators of construction, such as cones or barrels, and slow down or come to a complete stop if required. If a multiple-lane road is being merged into a single lane be sure to get into the correct lane well before the demarcated area begins and be courteous to other drivers by allowing them into the single lane. Pay close attention to what is happening around you and be aware of any workers on the road. Obey all posted signs and instructions until you are safely out of the construction zone.

“Try to find out about any construction expected on your route before starting your journey – it might be a good idea to select an alternative route,” advises Ranft.

Mobile apps such as WAZE will alert you to construction or any other delays along your route. Social media can also assist in your planning. For example, the N3 route between Johannesburg to Durban has a frequently updated Twitter profile (twitter.com/N3Route) and an account called Pig Spotter (twitter.com/pigspotter) often tweets about congestion on the roads.

These additional tips will help make construction zones safer for motorists, workers and pedestrians:

  • Keep your driving slow and steady with no sudden movements
  • Always expect that you might be required to stop suddenly and maintain a safe following distance
  • Follow all instructions from the construction workers
  • Stay alert and avoid being distracted by other passengers or your cell phone

“We urge motorists to be cautious and considerate, not only while moving through construction zones but whenever they’re on the road,” says Ranft.

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