How it works: What safety precautions should drivers follow in work zones?

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Spring and summer are busy seasons for road construction, as it is the best time for construction projects, pothole repairs and roadway beautification efforts, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

With heightened construction activity comes the need for increased work zone safety awareness, the transportation agency said. In most cases drivers can expect a maximum speed limit reduction of 10 mph in work zones. The speed limits are put in place not only for the safety of drivers, but for construction workers as well, officials said.

“2016 was a tragic year for our TDOT family as three of our employees were struck and killed by passing motorists,” TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright said in an April news release. “Hundreds of TDOT employees are working on our highways each day. We need motorists to work with us by moving over and slowing down for TDOT workers or first responders working along our interstates and state routes.”

According to a state law passed in 2006, motorists must move into another lane of traffic or slow down when approaching emergency and utility vehicles. The penalty for violating the law is a maximum fine of up to $500 and the possibility of up to 30 days in jail.

“Drive like you work here; pay attention to signs; reduce your speed; and move over when possible,” Bright said.

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