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How to drive safely in a construction zone

As a New Jersey resident, you know that construction zones are all too common. It doesn't matter if you're driving on the highway or a smaller town, you're sure to regularly come across road construction.

Due to the additional circumstances, which includes construction workers and vehicles, you need to change your approach as a driver. Not only does this help you prevent an accident with another vehicle, but it also improves the safety of the workers.

Here are seven tips for driving safely in a construction zone:

  • Be ready for everything. From reduced speed limits to lanes that quickly shift, you must be on your toes. This isn't a good time to daydream or let your eyes wander.
  • Slow down. If all else fails, you should slow down your vehicle to assess exactly what's going on around you. Be sure to pay attention to all traffic signs, as these tell you what you should be doing and what's going on in the area.
  • Watch for flaggers. Depending on the type of construction zone, there may be a flagger directing you. In this case, follow their directions at all times. For example, if you're told to stop, don't attempt to drive past this person.
  • Exercise patience. It goes without saying that construction zones will slow you down. Even if you're in a hurry, you need to take your foot off the gas, be patient and wait for things to clear up.
  • Don't follow too closely. Even if traffic is moving slowly, you don't want to follow the vehicle in front of yours too closely, as this increases the risk of an accident. Leave an extra car length or two for safety.
  • Use defensive driving techniques. There's never a good time to drive in an aggressive manner, and this is particularly true when moving through a construction zone.
  • Watch for signs telling you that you've left the construction zone. Only then can you resume normal driving activity, if the traffic allows for it.

While you understand the importance of altering your approach in a construction zone, other drivers may not take as much caution.

If another vehicle strikes yours, move to safety and call 911 for help. You'll then want to receive medical treatment, contact your insurance company, review the police report and take steps to protect your legal rights.

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