Orange barrels mean drive carefully

Orange barrels are starting to pop up around the area as the summer road construction season begins.

The barrels recently appeared all along Pike Street in Marietta as work continues for safety upgrades. Numerous other projects are planned on local roadways, state routes and interstates.

Driving in a construction zone can be dangerous, with narrow lanes of travel, reduced speeds and anxious drivers staying way too close to other vehicles.

Every year there are accidents in construction zones that make a traffic headache more like a traffic nightmare.

The Ohio Department of Transportation reported work zone crashes are on the decline. There were 6,389 crashes in work zones in 2004. The number has dropped to 4,616 crashes in 2013. Injury wrecks during the same period dropped from 1,522 to 1,143.

Everyone is on a tight schedule and in a hurry to get from here to there. That is until driving up to a construction zone. Riding right behind the bumper of the vehicle in front won’t result in a quicker trip through the work zone.

Traffic is slowed in a construction zone for a reason. Construction vehicles are pulling onto and off the highway. There are workers and heavy equipment operating sometimes just feet from the open lanes of travel.

Drivers have to be alert when traveling through a work zone. That means allowing enough distance between vehicles so a sudden stop can be made without a wreck.

Pay close attention to the instructions of flaggers and construction zone signs that warn or advise a motorist of what to expect in the work zone.

Remember, speeding violations can be very costly in a construction zone.

Everyone complains about the condition of area roads and bridges and work is under way to make repairs.

But patience and safe driving go hand in hand with summer road construction season.