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Making Road Work Safer with Construction Zone Signs

March 8, 2019

Traffic needs to slow down in construction zones in order to preserve safety. Difficult as this may be to achieve, it can be accomplished with the right type of signage. According to the Federal Highway Administration the most effective way to ensure driver safety is to manage speed and the space between vehicles. Here are ways that construction zone signs help make road work areas safer.

Construction Zone Messages

  • Warning: Entering Construction Zone
  • Unauthorized Personnel Keep Out
  • Proceed At Your Own Risk
  • Detour
  • Traffic Fines Double
  • Hard Hats Required
  • Slow: Work Zone Ahead

Many construction signs include images, but it’s important to note that studies indicate drivers respond better to representational rather than abstract symbols. The more simple the message, the more likely the viewer will accurately understand its intent. In some cases, however, it’s important to explain details, such as a toxic chemical spill.

Between 50,000 and 100,000 work zone crashes occur each year, according to Federal Highway Administration statistics. One of the most reliable ways to reduce deaths and injuries is employing traffic control personnel. But not all cities can afford to pay these flaggers throughout the day, so the next best thing is a sign that communicates with drivers.

Reducing Driver Stress

Not only do Construction Zone signs protect workers, they also help relieve stress for drivers by letting them know there’s a controlled reason for the slowdown. The motorist, once notified by a sign, no longer has to guess as to whether there’s an accidient ahead or some other reason for slow traffic. It’s also helpful to drivers to place signs indicating where construction work begins and where it ends. If the work goes on for several miles, it helps drivers to know the distance of the road work.

Signs give drivers a sense that someone is looking after their safety. They can provide tips for avoiding disasters. They help keep the driver conscious that other activity is going on besides drivers using the road, leading to slower speeds. Signs may also indicate which side of the road is concentrated with workers so that drivers know not to come close to that side.

Traffic Control Planning

The Wyoming Department of Transportation learned from a study that they could decrease traffic collisions by planning traffic control procedures prior to starting a construction project. They found that rerouting oncoming traffic using detour and lane closure signs within a few miles of the work site was an effective solution. Route planners were careful to avoid forced merges that could create bottlenecks.

One of the best ways to plan a construction site that affects traffic is to notify the media so that drivers find out about upcoming detours when planning their commutes. Public officials can also inform drivers with electronic signs that state when lane closures will occur. Posting temporary signs, barriers and delineators in advance will help prepare drivers for the detour. Letting drivers know ahead of time to “expect delays” for a certain date help reduce stress, confusion and accidents.


Posting proper construction signage helps reduce injuries and traffic speeds. To learn more about Construction Zone signs, contact Zumar at our Arizona, California and Washington locations.

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