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Monday, July 22, 2024

N3 construction zones become death traps, drivers need to change, writes a concerned trucker

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A concerned truck driver has written to SA Trucker about how he thinks more people will die on the numerous construction zones / roadworks on our roads if drivers do not change their driving behaviour around road construction zones.

The trucker, who has chosen to be identified by his first name only, Talent, said he feared that the horrific Townhill crash may not be the last one if drivers don’t change their attitude when driving where there are roadworks.

Talent’s views, he says, comes after 16 people were killed in a pile-up crash on the N3 southbound at Townhill just before Pietermaritzburg.

“More people will die on our roads if we keep ignoring rules of driving through construction zones,”
Trucker Talent

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He wrote;

I am driving on the N3 everyday and night and my experience when driving through the several construction zones has pushed me to write to you and air my concern.

Truck drivers and even other motorists are guilty of ignoring construction zone rules especially when it comes to speed. As I know, at a construction zone, if there is no speed control sign, you are supposed to do at most 60km/h.

I say this because indeed I have seen on many construction zones especially at night, the speed signs are not in place, mainly because a reckless driver knocked them down.

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Truckers also have a tendency of overtaking other trucks at the place where the horrific accident happened over a week ago. Those truck drivers put their lives and others at risk because if the two vehicles sideswipe they can be involved in a very serious accident.

If you look at the mass casualty crash, it shows that one or more of the vehicles involved was overspeeding. If those vehicles were doing at most 60km/h, the accident would not have been as devastating as it ended up being.

Please tell other truckers to exercise caution when driving through construction zones. We just need to be patient as drivers, once the construction zone ends you can go back to your normal speed.

They should stop accelerating to beat the next vehicle to the construction zone. I have seen trucks and other vehicles hit the yellow cones after trying to outspeed the other vehicle towards merging lanes at construction zones.

Countless times, personally I have been overtaken by other trucks while coming down Townhill. On this hill, even without construction, trucks are not allowed to overtake but they still do thereby endangering the lives of many people.

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I just hope my message will get home and all motorists start adhering to road rules to save each other’s lives. Trucker Talent.

Arrive Alive has a detailed article concerning road safety around construction zones.

Important points to highlight from the article in reference to what Trucker Talent wrote;

Safety professionals recommend several precautions to help make construction zones safer for everyone:

  • When approaching a construction/maintenance situation exercise caution and slow down.
  • Observe warning and caution signs before entering a construction zone.
  • Observe these posted signs until you see the one that says you’ve left the work zone.
  • Turn on your lights to make your vehicle more visible.
  • Expecting the unexpected is a golden rule when travelling through construction zones.
  • Avoid abrupt driving manoeuvres.
  • Always be aware that vehicles ahead of you may stop unexpectedly.
  • Maintain a safe following distance. Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of construction zone accidents.
  • Drivers should slow to the posted speed and move to the proper lane as instructed.
  • Traffic and road conditions may dictate an even slower speed.
  • Keep -up with the traffic flow. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by merging smoothly and not slowing to “gawk” at road work and equipment and crews.
  • Obey road crew flaggers! The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely in the work zone. A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her direction.
  • Drivers should not wait until the last minute to merge to the correct lane.
  • Use correct merging techniques when changing lanes – use your indicators.
  • Narrow lanes and restricted shoulders make construction zones a commonplace for lane-change accidents.
  • Regular traffic lanes are often shifted to temporary lanes and shoulders that may not provide the stability regular traffic lanes offer.
  • Stay alert for aggressive drivers. If another motorist is aggressively jockeying for position, drivers should let them move on. Challenging another driver encourages road rage and endangers the safety of other motorists and workers in the area.
  • Avoid distracting activities. Remaining alert for unexpected hazards is critical when travelling through construction zones. Talking on a cell phone, tuning the radio, eating, reading, or other similarly distracting activities can quickly lead to an accident.
  • Watch for construction equipment and workers. Construction equipment entering and exiting a work zone without warning, equipment extending into traffic, and construction crews and flaggers working dangerously close to moving traffic are a few of the hazards to expect.
  • Stay alert for obstacles and debris. Construction equipment, signs, and barriers may be located close to the edge of the roadway. Debris from work projects, especially dust, dirt, and gravel, may cause added disruption.
  • Be patient, cautious, and courteous. Remember, the work zone crew members are working to improve the road and make your future drive better.
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