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Safe driving tips for summer road construction

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Summer in Minnesota brings countless delights: beautiful weather, sparkling lakes, twilight until 10 p.m., gardens bursting with blooms. But there are also downsides. Chief among them: Road construction.

The short season means roads are torn up seemingly everywhere you turn. As a driver, it can be frustrating to deal with lane closures, detours and delays. But there are also major safety concerns at play for drivers and construction workers alike.

Understanding the dangers

Construction-related traffic accidents are a problem nationwide. On average, a construction-zone crash happens every five minutes, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

The reasons for these accidents are numerous. On busy freeways, sudden slowdowns can result in rear-end collisions when inattentive drivers fail to react to the brake lights up ahead. Merging traffic can lead to unpredictable lane changes. Road work at night can cause visibility issues. And at busy intersections and crowded pedestrian areas, construction equipment can make it difficult to navigate.

Playing it safe

Drivers play a big role in keeping construction zones safe. When you come across one, reduce your risk of getting into an accident by following these tips:

  • Slow down well ahead of time, giving yourself (and others behind you) plenty of time to react and space to stop.
  • Always observe reduced speed limits in construction zones.
  • Know how and when to use the zipper merge.
  • Give workers and construction vehicles plenty of distance.
  • Signal your intentions, and don't make sudden lane changes.
  • Allow yourself extra time to get to your destination (and leave plenty early so you don't have to rush).

Inconvenient as it may be, road construction is a fact of life. And in these high-risk areas, it's far better to play it safe than wind up in an accident - even if that means putting up with a bit of frustration.

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