How To Be A Better Defensive Driver During I-95 Construction
Construction in the summer is almost as inevitable as the arrival of the season itself, and it can be really frustrating to experience increased traffic and delays on your route.
Despite the benefits that roadwork gives us, we understand that conditions in the meantime are necessarily slower and more dangerous. Plus, there’s the potential to hurt a construction worker on the street, so tensions can run very high when you’re driving.
Clearly, defensive driving is as critical during these times as it is during non-construction conditions. But how do you practice defensive driving when there’s construction on the roads?
The short answer is to drive just as defensively as you would during normal driving conditions, but go slower and use more caution.
Here are the foundational tips you should be following when you hit the roads this summer!
Before you even leave your house, put on your seatbelt.
It goes without saying that wearing a seatbelt is an absolute necessity when it comes to driving. You should not be in a moving vehicle without a seatbelt on, and good defensive driving starts with ensuring your own safety if you’re injured on the road.
Another key element of proper driving safety is ensuring that your vehicle is in prime condition. All the defensive driving in the world won’t prevent an accident if your car doesn’t respond to your commands. A functional vehicle is essential for proper safety.
Before you leave, ensure your car is running at full operation.
- Make sure your car’s fluids are full.
- Double check that your tires are inflated and have good tread. Rotate your tires yearly.
- Give your vehicle’s belts and brake pads regular maintenance, and inspect for any loose or frayed wires.
- Be sure your windshield is clean.
- Replace any broken or expired light bulbs, and adjust your rearview mirrors so you can easily see behind you
When you’re driving, be sure you’re always maintaining a constant awareness of what’s going on around you.
The foundation of defensive driving is anticipating the actions of other drivers and avoiding them before they can cause an accident, so a successful application of this technique requires you to be continually scanning the road ahead of and behind you.
As a driver, your mind should primarily be on where you’re going, so try to keep an eye on the space up to fifteen seconds in front of you.
In a construction zone where there are active workers, slow way down. Ideally, you should slow down to ten miles below the speed limit to give yourself additional time to react if a pedestrian enters the roadway. Always assume that pedestrians will react unexpectedly and dangerously, and give them a maximum of space to protect them.
Remember that your state might increase speeding fines if workers are present, so not only will speeding endanger construction workers’ lives, it can also cost you a large amount of money in speeding fines.
Increase following distance
You should always leave plenty of room between your car and the one in front of you, but during construction you should increase that amount. When unpredictable elements such as workers and building equipment enter the picture, you want to ensure a maximum of reaction time if something catches you off guard.
Leave six to ten seconds worth of reaction time between your car and the next one.
Never drive with distractions, but even more so should you not when construction is involved. Put away your phone, set your map application on to voice navigation mode, and turn off any music or radio you’re listening to.
This extends to your passengers. Don’t be shy about asking for their cooperation when driving.
Road rage is a dangerous phenomenon that kills and injures drivers on the road, so do everything in your power to avoid it. Having a little patience and understanding can make a slow commute a lot more bearable for both you and other drivers on the road. If you know you’re going to drive down I-95 this summer, build in some extra time to allow for the delays. If another driver becomes enraged on the road, roll up your windows and do not engage.
Keeping a calm head during construction keeps the roads much safer and your commute a lot more pleasant. Good luck driving out there, and stay safe!