Construction Cone Comments

I have a love-hate relationship with road construction. I love that it is getting done and hate that it is in my way.

32 years ago, while living in the USA, my second job in trucking, after a year of hauling eggs, was driving a dump truck for the largest road constructor in the state. Quite a change to go from Humpty Dumpty to building eh?

It was an experience I will never forget. I wasn’t often hauling asphalt to the road crews, but I knew some of the workers. They do an incredible job. I don’t know what it’s like now, but our flaggers could move traffic far better than the State or local Police. They were professionals at their job. That doesn’t mean that everyone liked them, after all, there’s drivers who can’t stand a second of delay, never mind 30 seconds or more.

Far too often the flaggers bear the brunt of the danger of reckless drivers. There is nothing that gets my attention more than when I need to slow down for any reason on the highway. Look at the black skid marks on the road coming up to a construction site. It is really frightening.

Construction sites usually have lots of warning that they are ahead. In the case of a rolling crew where they’re moving along the road it may be a little way ahead but they are there. Trust the signs. If signs are up, be aware.

Recently it took me 2 hours before I had put a 100 km behind me when I was travelling east from Dryden ON. It makes a difference on my electronic log. I can’t make up that time. I also cannot make up the time, or un-injure someone. What do you prefer? An hour wasted with extraordinarily little consequence or hours delay in a crash and the mental and financial hit that will leave a permanent scar? Simple right? Then do your part.

Most trucks are a large moving billboard advertising for their company. If you come speeding up to a work zone, jumping hard on the brakes and scaring those around you, you will be noticed.  Companies do get positive emails and voicemails from construction workers as well as negative. You know what happens when companies get lots of positive feedback in the community? They use that in sales to get better rates and better customers which helps the driver. Want more money? Drive like your paycheck depends on it.

I have only addressed the approach to the site so far. Do not forget about going through it. I like to start with a friendly wave to the flaggers. It may not always be appreciated, but that won’t stop me Take your time getting going. Do not waste time, but again, you are a moving billboard. Racing through the gears and giving dirty looks to flaggers will not help you or your company. Get to the speed limit designed for that site but not over it. Keep a very sharp eye for workers who may be too focused on their job and not seeing you.

I may get hate mail here, but I wish there were more speed enforcement around work zones. If the OPP were able to have 10 vehicles at the MB/ON border 24/7 (plus all the other borders), I am sure they could find some to patrol work zones. Or in long term zones, put up some cameras.

In my unscientific study, done over the last couple months of my miles through Ontario, a very large percentage of crashes were in or around work zones. It’s past time for this to end!

Look at it this way if you do not care about safety and what I have been saying. If you pay attention and drive carefully in construction areas, you will get through with minimal delay. If you drive recklessly, you and hundreds of others will be delayed for hours, hurting your precious schedule.

We were lucky last year with less traffic on the highways. Traffic is increasing a lot more as places open up and construction closes us down.

Be patient. You will get there.