Orange means safety during summer travels

Published 11:56 pm Monday, June 13, 2016

By Dawn Burleigh


Rain did not stop the annual “Orange Means Safety” event held on Friday at the Texas Travel Information Center at the Texas/Louisiana border.

Throughout the day, visitors were able to get free food and information concerning on and off-road safety. The family-friendly event included popular crash-test dummies.

At any given time, there are more than 2,500 active work zones on Texas state roads. While many TxDOT workers are injured or killed in work zones, it’s actually motorists that make up the majority of work zone fatalities. The top two causes for work zone crashes are speeding and driver inattention. Traffic fines in work zones double when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000.

In 2015, there were 21,886 work zone crashes in Texas, an increase of 13 percent from the previous year. A total of 138 people were killed in work zones.

Keep safety in mind as one travels this summer, in rain or shine.

Remember to take breaks if the driver to prevent the driver from becoming tired or experiencing road fatigue.

If your eyes close or go out of focus, you can’t stop yawning, your thoughts wander or you’re drifting between lanes, wake up: you’re a “drowsy driver.” Stay alert by doing the following:

Get plenty of rest before your trip.

Get out of your vehicle and stretch your legs every two hours. Rest for 15-20 minutes during each stop.

Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m.

Don’t drink and drive – even small amounts of alcohol can impair your judgment and your reaction time.

Take advantage of the more than 100 Safety Rest Areas and Travel Information Centers in Texas. At many stops, you can use free wifi, get current information on highway conditions, learn about local attractions and find picnic tables and other accommodations.

Roadway work zones are hazardous, both for workers and motorists who drive through the complex array of signs, barrels and lane changes. Keep the following tips in mind when driving through work zones:

  • Slow down and always follow posted work zone speed limits. Speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes. Remember, traffic fines double in work zones.
  • Pay attention. Workers and heavy equipment may only be a few feet from passing vehicles.
  • Be patient. Delays from highway construction can be frustrating, but it only takes a few extra minutes to slow down for a work zone.
  • Plan ahead. Leave a few minutes early when traveling through a work zone in order to reach your destination on time.