MDOT encourages everyone to go orange in support of work zone safety

MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Chances are - you've already driven through Spring time construction zones -- as the warmer weather begins to settle in.

Crews are hard at work trying to improve Michigan roadways-- and every year -- more than 100 employees nationwide are killed in work zone related crashes.

"It's very scary," says Erik Tamlin with the Michigan Department of Transportation. "I think that maybe they don't see you or maybe they're not paying attention to those amber beacons."

Tamlin knows first hand what its like to be working along a roadway, when a car zips by narrowly avoiding crashing into him.

"In 2017 there was 23 fatal crashes in work zones in the state of Michigan, so we take this very seriously," says Tamlin.

Nationwide in the same year, nearly 800 people were killed. MDOT says most of those crashes could have been avoided.

"Many of those fatal crashes, it was due to driver speed, people going to fast.," says Tamlin. "We also want to make sure drivers aren't distracted, especially when they're driving in a work zone. Those phones and other distractions lead to more crashes as well."

In addition to simply following the laws of the roadway, MDOT says to be extra cautions of signs. It's important to do what they say, they're placed there for a reason.

"If you're seeing work zone ahead, were trying to sign in a way that makes it easy for people to get over,"says Tamlin. "Don't wait until the last second. Slow down, merge when its telling you to merge, and just be aware of those upcoming work zones."

Because behind every neon orange vest is someone just like Erik Tamlin who like everyone else, wants to make it home to his family.