The Road Worker Guide to Safe Nighttime Operations
Now that winter is upon us, seasonal weather conditions and lack of daylight mean that drivers must maintain safe speeds and optimal following distances at all times. If winter driving wasn’t tough enough on its own, nighttime drives in the winter pose additional threats to drivers, road workers and pedestrians due to low visibility, poor road surface conditions and risky driving behaviours.
At North America Traffic, we’ve designed our products with workers and drivers in mind. Our traffic control devices are manufactured for varying light and weather conditions and include features such as retro-reflectivity and bright illumination, which makes them suitable for a wide variety of road conditions.
Although workers must adhere to proper protocols and wear appropriate safety equipment, drivers are equally responsible for practicing safe driving at night.
How to Keep Work Zones Safe at Night
Whether you’re using an Automated Flagger Assistance Device (AFAD), or are abiding by one, we’ve designed our portable temporary traffic control signals and AFADs to keep workers and drivers safe. And we want to provide workers and drivers with the following recommendations to make our nighttime roadways and work zones safer for everyone.
Nighttime Safety Tips for Road Workers
Working on and around roads is inherently dangerous. Even workers who are operating machinery or standing a safe distance from the road can be susceptible to accidents from oncoming traffic and distracted driving.
In order to protect workers at night and in winter, North America Traffic has introduced various flagging devices and traffic control devices to help improve the safety of road workers at night:
1. Light up the Roadway: installing additional lighting on your job site will not only improve visibility for drivers, but also ensure that the workers can see and be seen on the road. Our products produce high levels of retro reflectivity to make them easily identifiable to drivers. North America Traffic also offers optional add-ons, such as Illumination Packages, to provide extra visibility for both workers and drivers.
2. Maintain Your Equipment: According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), traffic control devices should undergo regular maintenance to assess their suitability to specific weather and traffic conditions. Since North America Traffic’s AFADs and PTLs are capable of withstanding temperatures from -40 C to +80 C, they are optimal for a variety of road conditions.
Similarly, workers can maintain their products by contacting a member of our technical support team for assistance—our support staff are available 24/7. If you’re unsure of which device is best suited to your needs, contact our sales team to learn more about our products. Highly visible, well-maintained equipment is the best way to prevent accidents on the road.
3. Keep Workers off The Road: Since the first AFAD was created in 1994, North America Traffic has maintained that the most effective way to keep workers safe is to keep them off the road. Our products make it easy for workers to control traffic from a safe distance, which prevents workers from standing in and around oncoming traffic. Because our products can be operated remotely, workers are able to limit their contact with busy roadways.
Nighttime Safety Tips for Drivers
When we talk about worker safety, it’s easy to forget that civilian drivers also account for injuries and fatalities that occur in work zones. We’ve selected some nighttime driving tips from the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) handbook to help drivers across North America keep themselves and others safe.
1. Reduce Your Driving Speed: Perhaps the most self-explanatory, reducing your driving speed will prevent you from not only hydroplaning or slipping, but also from overdriving your headlights. According to the MTO, high speeds can give drivers a false perception of their stopping distance, which can cause fatal accidents for workers, pedestrians, and other drivers who are unknowingly inside of that stopping distance.
2. Use Low-Beam Headlights: Snow, sleet, and light rain can make it difficult to see at night. However, turning your high beams on will only serve to obscure your vision since the light will reflect off of the particles. Opting for low beam headlights will help you improve your visibility at night so you can prepare yourself for ongoing obstacles and traffic.
3. Be Patient: Road rage is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in North America. Although slow traffic, construction delays, bad weather, and low visibility can be extremely frustrating, it’s important to keep yourself calm. The MTO recommends avoiding “passing, changing lanes and crossing traffic” in winter and at night to promote safety.
Make Your Nighttime Operations Safer with North America Traffic
In addition to practicing safe driving habits, implementing AFADs and portable temporary traffic signals can drastically improve the safety and efficiency of your job site.
Taking proper precautions during nighttime operations will not only ensure that workers are safe, but also help drivers spot roadway construction signs and traffic signs from a safe distance.
Similarly, drivers must also educate themselves on nighttime driving practices to improve overall safety on roadways.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can use our products to help promote safer work zones in your community!