Road Construction Zone Safety

Posted On Saturday April 13, 2019

With the warmer weather on its way, this means that roadwork season will soon be in full effect. More and more work zones will be popping up on our highways, and on our city streets. It’s also the time of year when more people are on the road traveling greater distances.

The City of Cornwall is reminding motorists to exercise caution when driving past or through a construction zone. These areas require drivers to be especially cautious and attentive, from the heavy machinery to changes in road conditions during construction; these zones can be dangerous for drivers.

Construction signs contain important information that warns motorists or provides them with essential information about the work ahead, traffic conditions, road/ramp closures and detours. Even if there seems to be no activity in a construction zone, there may be other less obvious hazards such as loose gravel chips and uneven pavement that can be dangerous and cause damage to vehicles traveling at high speeds.

Motorists should obey all signs and slow down when going through construction zones, whether workers and equipment are present or not.

According to the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) study, one in every three drivers admits they are not always focused on the road. That is not surprising given that distracted driving is the leading cause of automobile fatalities in Ontario. Distracted driving, such as sending a text or email, checking social media, talking on the phone, or eating while driving, are not only illegal in Ontario, but are also extremely dangerous.

Anything that diverts your attention away from the task of driving significantly increases your risk for being involved in an accident. Combine that with the increased risks of a construction zone and the chances of causing an accident are significantly increased.

Did you know that many drivers reported witnessing several dangerous driving habits while in construction zones? They included:

  • Speeding – 87 percent
  • Weaving – 72 percent
  • Road rage – 61 percent

Source: Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA)


How can you help for everyone’s safety?

Not only is it a legal obligation to obey road controls such as signs, signals and control persons, it also ensures the safety of all drivers, pedestrians and workers.

  • Slow down. Obey the reduced speed limits posted in construction areas.
  • Focus on the task of driving, not distracted driving such as sending a text or email, checking social media, talking on the phone, eating or anything else that keeps you from focussing on the road.
  • Follow directions given by traffic control persons; Drivers who ignore the stop/slow signs of construction zone traffic controllers could face fines of up to $500 and three demerit points.
  • Plan ahead to avoid delays, give yourself extra time for your commute. Knowing where work zones are and checking traffic before you leave can help you avoid an unexpected delay.
  • When traffic merges due to a lane closure, ease into the lane early and leave gaps for other vehicles. The more cooperative drivers are the more traffic moves along smoothly.
  • Leave adequate braking room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Also, keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers.
  • Leave Yourself an Out! When stopped in traffic, leave a safety zone between you and the vehicle in front of you. A good rule of thumb is that when stopped in traffic you should be able to see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front of you.
  • Adapt to construction zones like you would for weather conditions such as rain or snow. The risks can sometimes be quite similar: reduced visibility, uncertain road surfaces, sudden stops, etc.; and

“Remember that construction areas change often. What you saw yesterday may be different today”

If you have any questions or concerns with construction zone safety and signage please contact Tommy Sauve, Safety, Training and Operations Supervisor at or 613-930-2787 ex 2241.

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