The Montana Department of Transportation is getting ready for a busy season of construction and maintenance work on the 10,800 miles of roads and highway the department maintains.
When traveling during construction season, watch for the "cone zone" and for workers on the highway. These workers spend their days working a short distance from fast moving vehicles, and while they make every effort to work safely, they are counting on you to pay attention, slow down and be careful as you pass through a work zone.
Tips for Driving
When traveling through a work zone, remember the three S’s of safety: speed, space and stress.
Manage Your Speed
- Slow Down when approaching all work zones. You will be in the work zone quicker than you think.
- Follow Posted Speed Limits, especially within construction zones, and try to maintain a consistent speed with the traffic flow. And adjust your speed for weather conditions.
- Don't Resume Normal Speed until you see roadway signs indicating it's safe to do so.
Manage Your Space
- Leave Room. Leave adequate braking room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Count out at least two seconds from the time the car ahead of you passes an object and the time your own car passes that object. Also, keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers.
- Don't Pass on the Shoulder. Don't drive across the median. This creates a very dangerous situation for you, construction workers and other motorists.
- Leave Yourself an Out. When stopped in traffic, leave a safety zone between you and the vehicle in front of you. A good rule of thumb is that when stopped in traffic you should be able to see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front of you.
- Watch Out for Tailgaters. Do not force tailgaters to back off by slamming on your brakes or reducing your speed significantly. This practice can lead to road rage and increases the chances of a collision. When possible, pull over and let them pass. If this is not possible, turn your headlights on and off several times during daylight hours to illuminate your tail lights and warn tailgaters they are too close. If at night, lightly tap your brake pedal to illuminate your brake lights.
Manage Your Stress
- Keep Your Cool. Calm down and don't rush. Remember, the temporary inconvenience of a construction zone will pay off with greatly improved roads soon.
- Pay Attention. Avoid cell phone or radio distractions, as well as those of other stopped cars or construction.
- Expect Delays. Use the MDT’s Traveler Information map and other available information to keep yourself informed about construction on your route. Leave a bit earlier, if necessary, to arrive at your destination on time. Consider using an alternate route that bypasses the construction zones.
Montana's Work Zone Safety Laws
Speeding through a work zone in Montana can cost motorists more than just double the price of a ticket; it can result in jail time or cost a life. In 2013, there were 170 total work zone related crashes in Montana, resulting in 1 fatality and 94 injuries.
- 61-8-314 - Traffic violations in construction zone and work zone
- 61-8-317 - Right-of-way for vehicles engaged in mobile highway maintenance.
- 61-8-346 - Operation of vehicles on approach of authorized emergency vehicles or police vehicles -- approaching stationary emergency vehicles or police vehicles.
Planning ahead is key to arriving at your destination quickly and safely. Stay aware of current construction sites, road conditions and expected delays.
- Current MT Road Construction: Text Report | Map Report
- Work Zone Laws
- National Work Zone Awareness Week
Please at 406-454-5897.