Sadie Says … Answers to frequently asked questions about safe driving

Q: With the warmer weather comes road construction and I am nervous when it comes to driving through work zones. What do I need to know to navigate safely?

A: You can be Work Zone savvy!

Protect yourself and highway workers by safely navigating work zones:

• Drive the work zone posted speed limit.

• Stay alert and pay attention.

• Expect the unexpected.

• Turn on your headlights — it is mandatory if signs instruct you to do so.

• Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and don’t tailgate.

• Use four-way flashers when stopped or moving slowly.

Be informed of work zone laws

Headlights on

Work zones with “turn on headlights” signs require all motorists to turn on their vehicle’s headlights.

Speed-monitoring devices

A speed monitoring device alerting motorists of their speed before entering a work zone will be present at interstate work zone projects exceeding $300,000 in costs.

Posting of active work zones

A white flashing light attached to the “Active Work Zone When Flashing” sign indicates an active work zone, and is only activated when workers are present.

15 day loss of license

for driving dangerously

Driving 11 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or being involved in a crash in an active work zone, and being convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed automatically result in loss of license for 15 days.

Fines doubled/jail time increased

Fines for certain traffic violations, including speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs or failing to obey traffic control devices are doubled for active work zones. Also, if convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash that occurred in an active work zone, a person can receive up to five years additional jail time.

Are you driving under

the influence of distraction?

You are, if you use a cellphone while driving.

Using a cellphone while driving is multi-tasking and can lead to “inattention blindness” — when you literally look at something and don’t see it. That “something” could be a red light, a stop sign — or a child.

Hands free is not risk free — it’s the mental distraction of using a phone while driving that takes your attention from the road and makes a crash 400 percent more likely.

Talking to a passenger is safer than talking on a cellphone. Passengers can point out danger on the road and stop the conversation when traffic conditions become challenging.

Texting takes the driver’s eyes from the road for about 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s equal to driving the length of a football field, blind.

Don’t use your phone in the cone zone.

Always buckle up — It’s your best defense against a distracted, drowsy or drinking driver.

Sadie Says … is brought to you by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition’s Safe Communities Task Force, whose members include AAA North Penn, AARP, area agencies on aging and regional transportation and highway safety advocates.

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