Safe driving through potholes in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis officials are urging drivers to stay safe near construction crews while workers fill potholes across the city.

Mayor Joe Hogsett joined the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) and AFSCME Local 725 in calling attention to the vulnerable conditions of road maintenance work. So far this week, DPW crews have been working 10-hour shifts, digging an average of 7,000 to 8,000 potholes a day.

“These guys are working in the middle of the street, we’ve asked local residents to slow down,” said Dan Parker, director of Indy DPW.

Parker said Indianapolis traffic fatalities have increased in recent years.

“We want to protect everyone and our workers and let them do their jobs,” Parker said.

In 2019, the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse reported 135 worker deaths nationwide. In the last 10 years, an average of 124 workers have died nationwide. Indiana had 3 worker deaths in 2019, with an average of 4 worker deaths per year.

Steve Quick, president of AFSCME Local 725, said people should take care when traveling.

“I know people like to play on their phones and they don’t slow down,” Quick said. “They should slow down and pay attention so these people can continue to stay sane and get their jobs done.”

The Indianapolis Department of Transportation provided some tips for safe driving on freeway construction sites:

  • Be extra vigilant and expect the unexpected. Work Zone configurations are subject to change without notice.
  • Do not text or make phone calls and avoid taking your hands off the wheel. Distraction has become a crisis on every street. Driver inattention is one of the main causes of all highway accidents.
  • Be aware of speed limits, narrowing lanes, changing traffic patterns, and most importantly, road workers.
  • Obey posted speed limits and pull up safely as soon as possible as this allows traffic to flow smoothly. Remember, driving through a 5 mile work zone at 45 MPH instead of 55 MPH only adds 1.2 minutes to your ride. Excessive speed and aggressive driving are one of the main causes of accidents at work.
  • Keep a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle and maintain a safe distance. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of work zone accidents.
  • Respect the flags and follow their instructions. Be patient when driving through roadworks with flag control.
  • Pay attention to the construction signs. These signs are carefully selected to provide drivers with accurate information and important warnings.
  • Expect delays and allow for additional travel time to travel through work zones.
  • Whenever possible, choose alternate routes to avoid the work area entirely.
  • Be patient and keep calm. Remember, the construction crews are working to make the road better for you!

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