JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Governor Tate Reeves reminded Mississippians that “Work zones are a sign to slow down,”  the theme for2022’s National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Reeves has proclaimed April 11-15 as “Work Zone Awareness Week” in Mississippi.

“MDOT has over 3,000 employees statewide and almost 75 percent of these employees work in the field alongside traffic,” said Brad White, MDOT Executive Director. “This is an extremely dangerous environment, especially when accounting for the significant rise in cell phone use amongst drivers today. That is why this week is so important to us as we remind drivers that they play a huge role in keeping MDOT workers safe.”

Work zones are marked with signs and advanced warnings to give drivers as much notice as possible before entering the work zone.

Stay safe while traveling through work zones with these travel tips:

  • Pay attention. You should always keep your eyes on the road, but this is exceptionally important in work zones. Be aware of all signage throughout work zones that can indicate reduced speeds, lane changes and other important information.
  • Avoid distractions. This not only includes cell phone use, but eating, drinking, and operating radios or GPS devices.
  • Slow down. Lane closures, traffic pattern shifts and reduced speeds are common in work zones. Be sure to slow down when entering a work zone and keep an eye out for roadside workers.
  • Move into the open lane. When approaching lane closures, move into the open lane as soon as possible. Be sure to pay close attention to vehicles around you that could be in your blind spot.
  • Keep your distance. Rear-end crashes are extremely common in work zones – maintain extra space between your vehicle and the one in front of you at all times.
  • Research your route. Before setting out on the road, research your route. When possible, avoid active work zones and use any detours that are available.

“With spring here, you are going see and experience a lot of work zones all around our state. When you see orange, slow down, pay attention and avoid all distractions,” said White. “Remember, the roadside workers you pass behind the barrels, cones and barricades are someone’s father, mother, son, daughter, friend or neighbor. They all want to get home safely, just like you.”