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Negotiating road-works safely

There’s no two ways about it, road-works are a pain for the vast majority of motorists, even if we know that they will improve the road conditions and make our future journeys so much better and safer. Right now, they delay and frustrate us, causing tailbacks, diversions or the dreaded stationary traffic, which makes us late for work or robs us of our early evening.

Yet if we all drove a little more carefully and considerately, most road-works would run smoothly and cause few problems. So what are we doing wrong?

Be prepared for road-works

If you are intending to travel a fair distance, there are plenty of internet sites to check for road-works and hold-ups along the route you have planned. It’s always a good idea to check one of these before setting out – choosing an alternative route could save you a lot of time and stress.

When on the road, far too many people ignore the warning signs of road-works that are coming up ahead and end up in the wrong lane or at the wrong speed. This inevitably means inconveniencing other drivers as you try to cut in at the last minute. Some drivers even deliberately go as far as they can in the closing lane in an attempt to get a few cars ahead.

Most road-works give us plenty of advanced warning, so you have no excuse for not getting over and entering the road-works smoothly without causing a bottleneck.

Watch your speed through road-works

Most road-works come with a speed restriction for the safety of drivers and road workers alike. This is often because there are narrow lanes or contra-flows that need extra caution.

Despite speed restrictions being sensible and there to protect people, there are still many accidents caused by drivers going too fast in road-works. Not only does this put you and your passengers in danger, but it also risks blocking the narrow lanes of the road-works for several hours, inconveniencing everyone else. You should also bear in mind that it will be much harder for emergency vehicles to reach you in an accident if it happens in complex road-works.

Don’t be distracted when in road-works

The narrow lanes and changed road layout of road-works require your full concentration, so it is crucial that you are not distracted by the road-works themselves. Yes, it is fascinating to see what is happening and how the new road may look, but save your curiosity for a trip where you are the passenger.

Be patient and stay calm

Inevitably, road-works will cause traffic to slow down and speed up, or even stop and start, but you simply have to go with the flow. If you let your frustration get the better of you, you are far more likely to make a mistake and cause an accident, which will delay you for much longer than the slow pace of road-works ever will.

There are rare occasions when there is a terrible accident ahead and the road is completely closed for several hours. This may mean you have to sit there or even turn back. But keep a perspective – the people involved in the accident are having a far worse time, and if there has been loss of life, is it really that important that you have been stuck in a jam?

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