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How to navigate summer construction in New York

With winter weather preventing any work, summer in upstate New York is the time to complete road construction. While better roads is a desirable result, lane closures, lower speeds and other inconveniences make construction frustrating.

However, construction zones are also dangerous, not only for workers but also for drivers. In 2015, there were nearly 100,000 motor vehicle accidents in work zones, leading to similar rates of property damage, injuries and fatalities as other car crashes, reports the Federal Highway Administration. Most accidents occurred in the daytime during the midweek days and were rear-end collisions. Being aware of these facts can help you stay safe in construction areas this summer.

Follow speed limits

As bothersome as they may be, reduced speeds help decrease the rate of accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, many drivers do not follow the speed limit. Avoid the temptation to follow the crowd and instead slow down in construction zones.

Watch for heavy machinery and vehicles

These areas likely will have lots of heavy machinery and large vehicles in use. Do not rely on their operators for safety, as they may have difficulty seeing around the massive equipment. Keep an eye out for vehicles coming in and out of zones.

Drive defensively

Find out before departing if the route you are taking is undergoing construction so you can plan accordingly and allow for more time to get to your destination. Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead for sudden stops. Merge into lanes early and take turns allowing other motorists in.

Pay attention to flaggers and signs

Navigating roads under construction can be confusing with all the cones and signs. Pay attention to the aids (another reason to go slowly, so you can see and read them), including flaggers. Avoid distractions such as changing the radio station or answering a phone call.

Wear a seat belt

No matter how careful you are, other drivers may choose to be careless. Make sure you and all passengers are wearing a seat belt in case of an accident.

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