In these uncertain times, there are few guarantees. One thing we can count on here in Saskatchewan: when summer hits, so does construction season. That’s why July’s Traffic Safety Spotlight focuses on work zones.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and law enforcement are reminding drivers to be mindful of workers while travelling through construction areas this summer. Always obey traffic signs and directions from any flag person you see. And above all else, be patient, slow down and stay alert.

“You won’t gain any extra time by speeding through that construction zone, especially if you end up getting pulled over by law enforcement,” said Penny McCune, chief operating officer of the Auto Fund. “What you will do is endanger the lives of those working to improve our province’s roads.”

“Transportation professionals working within the construction zone do a dangerous job and deserve respect; that construction zone is their workplace and they have a right to the same protection as professionals in any office or other workplace in the province,” said Shantel Lipp, president of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association. “Major infrastructure investments have been made this year to kick-start our economy. Construction zones are not there to inconvenience you but are necessary to improve road safety for everyone.” 

Drivers are required to slow to 60 km/h or the speed that’s posted when passing a highway worker, flag person or highway equipment with warning lights flashing.

Reduced speed limits in construction zones are there to keep both construction workers and other drivers safe, and fines are significant for a reason. If you continue at the 100 km/h speed limit through a 60 km/h construction zone, that is going to cost you $1,008. Plus, you’ll lose at least three Safe Driver Recognition points on your licence, which can lead to further financial penalties.

Reducing your speed gives you more time to react to a potential collision. Plus, even if workers aren’t present, hazards in work areas could include lane reductions, sharp pavement drops, loose stones or completed road work that needs time to dry and could be slippery at high speeds. And, cameras may be in work zones whether workers are present or not. A ticket in the mail could be an unwelcome surprise.

Here are some other tips to follow when hitting the road:

  • Plan ahead. Check the Highway Hotline for potential delays, and allot more time to reach your destination, or use an alternate route.
  • Always give the road your full attention – avoiding distractions is especially important in work zones, where it’s important to expect the unexpected.
  • Obey posted signs and flag persons.
  • Keep a safe following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • When two lanes become one, #EmbraceTheZipperMerge. It makes traffic flow more quickly and efficiently.