Urban Driving
Driving Through Construction & Work Zones

Traveling Through Construction & Work Zones: City Driving Strategies

Updated Dec. 11, 2020

While driving in the city, you may encounter construction zones or detours marked out with warning signs and signaling devices. These are in place to guide road users and pedestrians safely around the work zone. Always reduce your speed when approaching a construction or maintenance area on the road, as there may be workers moving around on foot.

Construction zone rules

Keep the following safety information in mind, when approaching or driving through a work zone:

  1. 1

    One or more lanes may be closed off to traffic.
    Look out for orange cones marking off closed lanes. There may also be “LANE CLOSED” signs. Never drive across a row of orange cones in a construction area.

  2. 2

    Flashing signal arrows may be present, indicating whether you should move left or right before reaching a closed lane.

  3. 3

    Merge to an open lane as early as possible when approaching a closed-off work zone.

  4. 4

    Do not stop your vehicle or slow down to watch activity in a construction zone.

To reflect the great risk of injury that road workers are subjected to, fines and penalties for offenses committed in construction zones are often doubled. This applies in many states, though you should check your state’s own driving manual for local rules and restrictions.

Prepare for detours

Detours may be set up to divert traffic away from construction zones or parts of the road that have been deemed unsafe. Temporary detours are often established around traffic accidents and collisions. Drivers must always scan the road ahead and look out for detours when traveling around the city. It is best to change lanes as soon as possible when you spot a detour ahead. Though, you must do so with caution and without presenting a hazard to other road users.

Keep in mind that the speed limit and other driving rules may be altered around the detour. This will be made evident with temporary signs and signaling devices. Construction zones and detours are easy to navigate if you remain alert to the movements of other motorists, potential hazards, obstructions and warning signs.

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