Summer Road Construction: Keeping A Cool Head In Hot Zone Conditions

When summer is on the way, you may daydream about activities like picnics at the beach, fun in the sun and backyard barbeques, but there is one activity that happens during fair weather that you probably dread – road work. After inclement weather during winter, roads require a lot of repair - from filling potholes to complete replacement. Damaged and rundown roads can lead to travel delays, traffic accidents and damages to your car. In this article, learn how to prepare for delays in advance, navigate construction zones safely and how to steer your way clear of pothole-induced damage.

How to Avoid Road Construction

Travel delays and traffic jams due to road construction can be infuriating, often causing road rage. Keeping your cool this summer is as simple as preparing in advance. To avoid busy road construction zones, try the following:

  • Listen to the radio. Contact the highway patrol or other local law enforcement agencies to find out if there is a radio station you can check for the latest construction reports. These stations can also provide you with information about delays caused by traffic accidents.
  • Go online. Visit the Department of Transportation website for your state or the state you're traveling in. These websites provide up to the minute travel information and often include live web cams for high traffic areas.
  • Take a pit-stop. When driving on interstate highways, make sure to stop at Welcome and Information Centers, where you can find maps and information about scheduled road construction.

Knowing where road construction is happening can help you plot a route that will help you avoid delays. Taking back roads is another good way to avoid construction hot zones. While back roads may take a little longer, they may also provide a more scenic trip.

How to Stay Safe in Construction Zones

Road construction is often frustrating, but it can also be dangerous. Additional traffic, obstructed views and construction workers on and near the road all put you at risk of being in an accident. To prevent a traffic accident in construction zones, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Slow down in advance. Begin slowing down when you start to see signs indicating that there is road construction ahead. This will prevent you from having to brake suddenly.
  • Follow temporary speed limits. During construction, slower speed limits will be posted. You may also need to drive even slower than the signs indicate due to traffic or inclement weather.
  • Pay close attention to distances. Make sure to leave extra room between your car and the car in front of you in case sudden stops are necessary. Also be mindful of distances between your car and traffic barriers, construction equipment and workers.
  • Avoid distractions. Keep your eyes and ears focused on the road and your hands on the steering wheel.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that the average time a driver takes their eyes off the road to text is five seconds. If driving 55 miles per hour, a car will travel the length of a football field in that time. Imagine what kind of damage you could do driving blind for 100 yards.

Traffic accidents, particularly in road construction zones, can be devastating. It is important to pay close attention to your surroundings when driving through these areas.

How to Handle Potholes

Winter weather, especially in areas that get a lot of snow, can cause pavement to crumble and result in massive potholes. A survey conducted by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and Trust Choice reports that 50 percent of car owners from 2009 to 2014 were subjected to vehicle damage caused by potholes. Of those car owners, 31 percent filed insurance claims, but the majority paid to repair damages at their own expense.

Potholes can damage your tires, wheels and suspension and while some automobile manufacturers are building cars to better withstand the jarring effects of potholes, there are still some things you can do to prevent damage:

  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Make sure that your tire pressure is kept at the level recommended by the manufacturer to prevent more serious damage.
  • Don't swerve. It's best to hit a pothole head-on. If your wheel and tire hit the edge of the pothole at an angle, more damage can occur.
  • Don't slam on your brakes. Heavy braking has the opposite effect that you intended because the compression actually has a tendency to force the wheel and tire down into the pothole rather than bouncing over it.

When driving down a poorly maintained road, slow down and pay close attention to the conditions. Potholes can be deceiving in appearance and can be bigger and deeper than you expect.

Road construction is a necessary evil – even if it does drive you a little nuts in summer months, but if you plan your travel routes in advance, take extra safety precautions when driving through construction zones and know how to minimize the effects of potholes on your car, you can keep your cool during the hot weather. For more information on roadway repair, visit a site like