It's Road Construction Season, Try To Remain Calm

Pocono Update

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Photo by Joe Zlomek

By Nick Sergi

One of the constants of driving on local roads is construction. Because of the drier conditions and warmer temperatures, April through October are the most popular months for road construction in most states, according to Power Blanket, an organization that tracks road construction across the United States. As the summer months approach, you can expect more slowdowns while traveling. When proceeding, there are some important tips to keep in mind.

The first is to be mindful. It seems that everyone is in a rush, and there are places that we all have to get to as quickly as possible. We've all been that person that is doing something we feel is so much more important than whatever the driver ahead of us is doing. Whenever possible, it's important to stay focused and calm, not be distracted by what we have to do, become upset about how slow the traffic seems to be moving, and not get preoccupied with our GSP map applications on our mobile devices. It's so important to stay focused and mindful of the immediate surroundings. It's one thing to be ready to make a quick change when needed and another thing altogether to be in a rush.

Merging can be quite tricky when approaching a traffic zone you do not expect. This difficulty stems from the idea that, since you've perhaps driven the same road before, you know it so well that you don't expect to leave the lane you're in, but a new row of cones or a flashing construction sign will tell you otherwise. It's important to try to merge to the correct lane as weary as possible.

Thirdly, when traveling through a construction zone, turn your headlights on, even during the daytime. This is so that the road workers and other vehicles will be more aware of your presence. It's important not to tailgate and always watch for brake lights from vehicles ahead. The vehicle in front of you may be going at a normal pace before its driver suddenly realizes that traffic patterns ahead of them have suddenly (or will suddenly) change, and they may suddenly apply the brakes. Also, when crawling through slow-moving traffic, watching the car's brake lights in front of you will help indicate when it is time to move forward. Always be prepared to react to the unexpected, especially with workers on foot around traffic zones who may have to step into or across the lane you are in.

Keep in mind that you may be directed to use the shoulder when driving through these areas. Traffic infractions are often doubled in active work zones. Most mapping programs will indicate, with fairly accurate results, how long a construction delay will last, but this is not a guarantee. We can only hope that these construction zones will actually improve traffic flow in the future. In the meantime, always use extra caution.

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