Montana Department of Transportation

Work Zones

The Cone Zone

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.


Closeup of a road construction worker holding a Stop sign Slow for the Cone Zone A workzone with workers laying asphalt A road sign reading Work Area Ahead A fallen worker in a workzone

Safer Driving in Work Zones

Remember the Three S’s of work zone safety: speed, space and stress.

1. 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.
Work zone with sign warning about speed limit fines

2. 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.
  • Give 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.
  • Don't try to force tailgaters to back off by slamming on your brakes. At night, lightly tap your brake pedal to illuminate your brake lights to warn tailgaters they are too close. During the day, turn your headlights on and off several times to illuminate your tail lights

3. Manage Your Stress

  • Keep Your Cool. Calm down. Don't rush. Remember, the temporary inconvenience of a construction zone will soon pay off with greatly improved roads.
  • Pay Attention. Avoid cell phone or radio distractions, as well as those of other stopped cars or construction.
  • Expect Delays. Use the Traveler Information Map to learn about construction; leave a bit earlier; or try an alternate route.

Work Zone Safety & Mobility Toolbox

The MDT Work Zone Safety and Mobility Policy provides an opportunity to increase safety for department employees, construction workers and the public while improving the mobility of the traveling public and our goods and services.

Open Toolbox

Resources

Planning ahead is key to arriving at your destination quickly and safely. Stay aware of current construction sites, road conditions and expected delays.

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 2014, there were 172 total work zone related crashes in Montana, resulting in 2 fatalities and 73 injuries.

Questions

Please at 406-454-5897.