Roadworks and mobile traffic management are part of infrastructure development and maintenance and you can bet you will encounter some in your travels.
At most roadworks sites, traffic management can include speed and lane restrictions, and possibly a modified road layout.
There are many safety hazards to both road users and construction workers within roadwork zones. It is important to follow the rules and be courteous, even when workers are not onsite as the unsealed or uneven road surface can be dangerous.
When travelling through roadworks or traffic management areas, remember the following:
1. Always follow the warning signs - even when workers are off site
Warning signs are erected to inform road users of changing conditions and to keep road users and road workers safe. The signs alert you to where roadworks start and end and tell you the speed limit that you must travel - by law you must follow them.
Changes to road conditions can include:
Greater levels of attention are required when travelling through these areas. Please follow all signage and always assume road workers are in the vicinity, even if you can't see them. We value your safety and the safety of our work force.
2. Slow down and follow the signs
The chance of a crash can potentially be increased in roadworks areas by driver inattention. Between 40 per cent and 59 per cent of crashes occurring in work zones are rear-end crashes (Dewar & Hanscom 2007). The restrictive space within a modified road layout area leads to reduced opportunity for drivers to recover from errors in judgement should they occur.
Vehicles travelling through a worksite need to navigate the space that is shared with work traffic, the public, permanent and temporary features. By slowing down and obeying signs, you reduce the risk of a crash.
Workers may not always be visible from the road and may be under the roadway.
3. Avoid 'rubbernecking' while driving through a roadworks zone
Workers and traffic controllers are at risk, as well as:
Stay aware and focus on navigating the modified road layout in a roadworks area.
4. Safe overtaking
Overtaking can be dangerous, especially if you can't see what's in front of you or how long the convoy ahead of you is.
On regional roads, overtaking is make more difficult due to undulating road conditions, unseasonable weather and poor visibility past road trains, roadwork vehicles or mobile traffic management.
Following these steps will help you overtake safely:
Leave a gap or several car lengths between yourself and the vehicle or mobile traffic management you are trying to overtake.
Ensure you have plenty of clear road head to overtake safely - remember that oncoming cars may be travelling faster than you think
Watch your speed - penalties for speeding still apply when overtaking
Once you are completely clear of the overtaken vehicle, safely re-join your lane as soon as it is safe to do so.
Remember that overtaking is NOT permitted:
at railway, pedestrian or children's crossing
at an intersection
where there is a 'no overtaking' or 'do not overtake turning vehicle' sign
where there are single or double continuous centre lines
where you do not have a clear view of approaching traffic (around a curve or over a hill where visibility is limited)