Minnesota has five seasons each year; winter, spring, summer and fall. The additional season has become affectionately known as “Road Construction.” As a matter of fact, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced this week that 211 road construction projects are on the docket this season.

From late April/ early May until Thanksgiving usually, Minnesota roads are dotted with construction signs, vehicles and workers. Add to this, the activities of asphalt pavingpot-hole repaircracksealing and parking lot maintenance, create many more obstacles drivers must negotiate and hazards to avoid. The irony of this is that the busiest times of the year in terms of road traffic falls during the road construction season. This is not new information nor is it recently uncovered data, but PEOPLE are still dying on Minnesota roads and highways each year.

Current trends indicate less people are getting hurt and killed each year, which is a good thing. However, good is not good enough when it comes to fatalities and zero should be the only acceptable goal. Here are a few recommendations to consider as motorists to reduce injuries and fatalities on our roadways.

  • Put down the phone-No email, phone call or text message is worth your life or anyone else’s, unless you’re calling 911. You might have even seen the large highway signs displaying this message: “Orange Cones? No Phones.”
  • Slow down-Do not be in a hurry and follow posted speed limits. Leave a few minutes early, expect delays and impress your friends and co-workers with your timeliness. Remember, fines double in work zones!
  • Do not live in a bubble-You are not the only person on the road and how you drive will affect how others will drive. Driving too aggressively or setting your own personal speed limit in the far left lane will likely result in some type of negative reaction from other drivers.
  • Get ready at home-Rush hour is not the time to be performing grooming and hygiene activities. There are not any studies that prove being involved in a crash will improve your hairstyle.
  • Respect construction zones-Slow down, back off and pay attention. If something bad is going to happen, this is where it most likely will. Put both hands on the wheel and expect the unexpected, like stopping traffic, flaggers, construction vehicles leaving or entering and debris on the roadway.

Laws and enforcement are not the only things making our roadways less fatal. To bring our family, friends and neighbors home each day takes commitment to better driving practices by all of us.

For a complete listing of MnDOT projects, visit www.mndot.gov/roadwork/current or check www.511mn.org for up to date information on traffic and road conditions.

Bituminous Roadways, Inc. has been in the asphalt paving business for more than 70 years. Our crews are out there grading, milling, and paving parking lots, roadways, pathways and recreational surfaces. Our company takes safety seriously, and we hope you will consider these recommendations to create a safer construction season for all of us.