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National Work Zone Awareness Week: Do your part to keep our workers safe

SDOT paving crews patch a section of Admiral Way SW last summer| Photo by Ken Ewalt

It’s National Work Zone Awareness Week and we’re here to remind you to pay attention as you approach and drive through work zones to keep workers, other people in the area, and yourself safe. 

Every day we have people working in and on Seattle streets in marked work zones. In addition to our SDOT crews, people from Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, and other agencies work in the streets to make sure we have power and clean water in our homes. 

Last year in King County 214 collisions were reported within a work zone or caused by backup from a work zone. We need to do our part to keep our workers safe while they are on the job. 

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week theme is “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.” Pay attention in work zones, take note of reduced speed limits, changes in lane configurations, eliminate distractions, and be watchful for roadway workers and their equipment.   

To protect people working in and traveling through work zones, follow these tips for safe travel:  

  • Be Prepared. Before hitting the road, check phone, map apps, and the radio for the latest traffic information. With knowledge of active work zones, you can better plan your trip. Change your start time, or if possible, find alternative routes to avoid work zones altogether.
  • Obey Road Crews and Signs. Cones, barrels, and warning signs help facilitate the movement of traffic in and through work zones. Flaggers are there for your safety, as well as the safety of the workers.
  • Watch for Workers. Every year, workers are killed by vehicles traveling in work zones. In 2019, 24 percent of fatal work zone crashes involved rear-end collisions related to speeding and tailgating, according to the Federal Highway Administration.  
  • Stay Focused. Watch the road and not your phone. Work zones can change daily; pay attention so you can follow new traffic patterns.
  • Be Alert. Be aware of all activity occurring around you, including other drivers.  
  • Slow Down and Don’t Tailgate. Speeding and tailgating can lead to crashes with other vehicles and with the workers. Obey the posted work zone speed limits and keep a safe distance between your car and the vehicle ahead.
  • Share the Road. When you see work crews and official vehicles with flashing warning lights, move over to allow them to pass.
  • Use Caution Around Large Vehicles. Large vehicles have a slower reaction time so don’t make sudden lane changes in front of trucks that are trying to slow down.
  • Remember, Protect Everyone. Be respectful of workers, fellow drivers, and people who walk, bike, and roll. We need everyone to work together to ensure we are all protected in work zones.
  • Wear Your Seatbelt. Seatbelts save lives. They are your best defense in a crash.

We’re taking action to reach our Vision Zero goal to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.  

Please do your part and drive safely. Read these tips to reduce distractions while driving and check out our construction coordination map to see where work zones may be.