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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 27, 2011
Media Contact: Melanie Stokes
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6623

Road Improvements Require Alertness and Patience Behind the Wheel
Drivers Should Expect Traffic Pattern Changes in All Regions of the State

RICHMOND - As the Commonwealth invests nearly $4 billion into the state's transportation network over the next three years, motorists will routinely experience road construction in every region of the state. As Virginia does its part for highway safety, the Department of Motor Vehicles urges drivers to do yours - be alert and patient while driving through road construction.

"Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly are funding more than 900 improvement projects, that we will encounter as we travel throughout the state," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's highway safety representative. "Drivers should expect to see changes in traffic patterns, directional signs, uneven pavement, and sometimes traffic delays. It is critical that you anticipate construction, slow down and keep focused on staying safe."

Most traffic fatalities and injuries can be avoided. Motorists can prepare a safe route before they hit the road by using the Virginia Department of Transportation's 5-1-1 Virginia service, available at www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511. VDOT also publishes on its website major road construction project information at http://www.vdot.virginia.gov/travel/major_road_construction_projects.asp.

Always wear your seatbelt. And when you encounter road improvement activity, you can take specific actions to steer clear of a crash.

  • Slow down - Obey the posted speed limit. You never know what you may encounter when road conditions change. If you're not speeding, you will be able to stop more quickly in case of an unexpected hazard.
  • Drive alert - Focus your complete attention on the task of driving. Do not allow yourself to get distracted by a cell phone, the radio, or other people in the vehicle. Driving is a complex task. In road construction, it's even more difficult. Keep both hands on the steering wheel. Look for signs and work zone flaggers and follow their directions.
  • Be patient - Drivers rear-ending vehicles is the main cause of construction crashes. Do not tailgate. Allow ample distance between your car and the vehicle ahead of you in case of sudden stops.

In 2010, six people died and 1,234 were injured in 2,412 crashes in road construction traffic. Overall, fatalities and injuries are down.

"For the third consecutive year, Virginia recorded declines in statewide traffic deaths, with 2010 fatalities the lowers since 1966," stated Holcomb. "Let's continue the positive trend; every driver in Virginia is responsible for keeping our roadways safe."

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