You’re cruising along in your car, but suddenly you see a construction sign or flashing school zone light. You might be familiar with many of the actual laws surrounding these areas, but what are the best ways to safely navigate them? What about when you come to an intersection and see a funeral procession? While these situations might not be a regular occurrence for you depending on your commute, it’s important to know how to steer clear of danger even if you’re already following the rules of the road. Here’s our guide to driving in construction zones, school zones, and funeral processions.
Driving in Construction Zones
Even if you haven’t been driving for a long time, you’ve almost certainly seen orange signs somewhere along the road to let you know that you’re approaching a construction zone. According to workzonesafety.org, there were 672 fatal crashes resulting in 755 deaths in such areas in 2018 alone, and the numbers for other recent years are comparable. With drivers and workers both potentially at risk, it’s important to know how to steer clear of unwanted chaos in construction zones. Here are some of the Federal Highway Administration’s best safety tips. Make sure to check out their site for the full list.
- Turn on your headlights: Even during daylight hours, turn on your headlights. This simple move will make your vehicle more visible to those around you.
- Make sure you’re in the correct lane: Construction zones often feature lane closures. Use your blinker and merge into the correct lane early when possible.
- Follow speed limits: Once again, you should always obey speed limits, but particularly in construction zones. In most construction zones, you can expect slower speeds. Traffic can be less predictable, and workers may be present. If you obey speed limits, you’ll be more prepared to stop. Also, construction zones often feature doubled fines, so that’s another reason to obey the rules.
- Follow instructions from traffic directors: If a worker is directing traffic, make sure to pay attention to what they’re telling you. For example, if there’s only one lane of traffic ahead, they may signal to stop while oncoming traffic passes. They can help you navigate the unfamiliar landscape of a highway or city street under construction.
- Pay attention to signs: Construction zones feature plenty of signs. Take a look at the most common ones, like those featuring lane closure symbols or those indicating a flagger is ahead, and learn them so you’re prepared when you see them in-person.
Driving in School Zones
Increased traffic and the presence of children mean you have to be prepared to drive in a school zone. How do you make sure you’re doing your part to keep everyone, both drivers and pedestrians, safe? Here are a few tips:
- Slow down: School zones are almost always accompanied by signs telling drivers to slow down. Many times, these signs even have flashing lights to warn you during hours of peak school traffic. Pay attention to signs, and always follow posted speed limits. If you’re in a hurry, consider taking an alternate route to avoid school zones.
- Prepare to stop for pedestrians: School zones are full of crosswalks, some even have crossing guards. The reason? School zones often have a lot of foot traffic. Always be prepared to stop, even if you’re not by a crosswalk. Children can behave unpredictably, so be on the lookout for danger at all times. Sometimes following the law isn’t enough, and in these cases, driving defensively is the safest bet.
- Learn how to drive around school buses: If you’ve never taken the time to learn how to drive around school buses, now is the time. If you have in the past, it’s a great time for a refresher. Buses abound in school zones, and it’s important to make sure you know how to avoid blind spots, pass, stop, and more. Here are some back-to-school tips from The National Safety Council on how to share the road with buses. Plus, get more school pick up and drop off tips from us!
Driving in Funeral Processions
When it comes to a funeral, the last thing we want you to worry about is how to drive in the procession. And if you encounter a procession in progress while you’re driving, it’s important you know the do’s and don’ts on how to be respectful. You can find detailed directions at Funeralwise.com, but here are some of their tips in an abbreviated manner.
When Driving in a Funeral Procession:
- Prepare to drive slowly.
- Stay close to the vehicle in front of you at all times, even through intersections (make sure to proceed carefully, though).
- The final car in a procession has flags and lights to let others know the procession is over.
- Follow the directions of cemetery attendants when you arrive at the cemetery.
When You Come Across a Funeral Procession:
The best thing you can do when you see a procession is be respectful, attentive, and patient, according to Funeralwise.com. Yield until the entire procession has passed. Don’t honk. Even if you have to sit through a couple of light cycles at an intersection, you’ll eventually be on your way.
Trying to locate more safe-driving tips? Check out DirectAuto.com for more advice! Questions about coverage? Give one of our friendly agents a call or visit one of our convenient locations. We’re always here to help.