The Importance of Staying Alert in Construction Zones

staying alert in construction zones

We all have somewhere to be by a certain time when we are on the road. We intend to leave early, but it doesn’t always work out that way. On top of this, we may be fumbling with the radio, or looking for directions on our phone to our end destination.  With these factors, we find ourselves in a bit of a hurry and distracted. This can be dangerous to not only you, but others on the road. Aside from other drivers, constructions workers are at their office daily, which happens to be on the road, and are at a major risk for distracted or rushed drivers.  The following tips can help minimize these risks and ensure that you and others, including construction workers, remain safe while on Arizona’s roadways.

KEEP ALL CELLULAR DEVICES PUT AWAY

Pokémon Go is a huge hit right now, but as ADOT states, behind the wheel is no place to be throwing out your pokéball. Phones are a major distraction on the road, and construction sights decrease driving speed significantly in a short amount of time. In order to avoid an accident, keep your eyes on the road at all times, and remain a safe distance behind the cars in front of you in case of unexpected stops.

MOVE OVER OR SLOW DOWN

A new law in Arizona requires that vehicles with flashing lights have the right of way. Drivers must either change lanes or if not safe to do so, slow to a crawl. This is crucial not only with emergency and broken down vehicles, but also construction zones. In order to ensure smooth sailing, drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Entering a construction zone when you are in a rush to get somewhere is never fun. Watch your local new station, listen to your favorite radio station, or access AZ511 for information on highway conditions before you head out. Rushing through a construction zone can put people’s lives at risk as well as result in a major fine by local law enforcement.

Know Road Conditions Before You Go with These Four Methods

road conditions

Know road conditions before you go.

We’ve all been there! Running late to work, to pick up the kids, or for an appointment. The last thing we need, or want, is to be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. But, unfortunately, bumper to bumper traffic is often the end result of our rushing. Knowing current road conditions, including traffic congestion caused by road work or accidents, can help you get to your destination on time. Here are four convenient ways to do just that.

Phone: You will be able to receive current traffic and airport information, special event and parking information, traffic times on highly used roadways, road conditions, and weather forecasts, simply by dialing 511 from a landline or mobile phone. 511 is also updated with specific public safety alerts, including AMBER and Silver alerts, as they occur. 511 also provides border wait times. The Arizona 511 traveler line can be accessed from outside the state by dialing 1-888-411-ROAD (7623).

Web: The road conditions you can check in real time, by following this link, include: crash/incident, delay/road work, road closures, information/activity, and weather. You can even receive a customized weekend report detailing any known, non-accident related, closures. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an ADOT app, at least not yet. However, if an app is what you’re looking for, AZ Traffic brings images from the Arizona Department of Transportation cameras to your iPhone.

Apps: One app that has people talking about it is Waze. Waze provides users with real-time traffic information and road alerts. The app also helps you navigate your way to the cheapest gas station on your route. As you drive along, the app will periodically notify you via pop-ups of incidents on the road ahead within a preset radius or along your chosen route, if you’ve set a destination. Road closures due to extensive construction are also accurately represented.

Twitter: Twitter users can get free traffic updates by following the Arizona Dot (@ArizonaDOT) feed. Arizona Dot provides updates throughout the state. The ADOT Twitter account does more; however, than just dish out trip information and tips, as the people behind it also interact personally with its followers. Questions commonly asked and answered on the feed include: “How does I-10 look between Phoenix and Tucson?” How are my Arizona vehicle registration fees calculated?;” and more.

Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips

Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips

The holidays are a time for celebrating with friends and family. However, the hectic pace of the holidays can also present several increased risks, such as: overcrowded roadways, adverse weather conditions, and limited daylight. Not to mention, drivers navigating unfamiliar terrain, as they make their way over the river and through the woods.

Then…there’s the fact that more than 90 percent of all those traveling for the holiday, will do so by personal automobile, according to AAA. This is an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. Why the increase? Low gas prices, of course! The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is expected to fall below $2.00 per gallon by Christmas Day.

To help ensure you and your loved ones stay safe during this year’s holiday season – Christmas and New Years – we’ve assembled some Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips that we hope will prevent distracted, risky driving while you’re on the go. We’ve also included suggestions for keeping clear of barricaded roadways and time consuming traffic incidents.

Our Top 6 Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips

#1. Make Sure Your Car’s Ready for Winter Travel

Please don’t go anywhere in your car, unless you’ve thoroughly ensured it’s ready for winter travel, as far too many cars go off the road every winter due to driver negligence. The lights, oil, tires, belts and hoses, brake and power steering fluid, antifreeze, battery, and snow chains should all be given the green flag by a professional mechanic before hitting the open road.

#2. Don’t Get Stranded on the Side of the Road

If you will be traveling quite a distance this holiday season, it is very important that you keep your smart phone fully charged, and loaded with helpful travel apps (e.g. Google Maps, Waze, Gasbuddy, Hotel Tonight, iExit Interstate Exit Guide, and more are all great apps). It would be wise to have a phone charger in your car; in the event you need to recharge your phone as it is a necessary component of winter travel.

#3. Pack an Emergency Road Side Assistance Kit

You should never leave home without an emergency road side assistance kit – especially in the winter. These are so simple to put together. Make sure you have items such as a flash light, flare, gloves, extra blankets, jumper cables, an emergency cell phone, and food/water. Prepare your kit as if you could be stranded for a few days as it’s always better to have more than to risk running out.

#4. Don’t Leave Your Pets in the Car

You’re probably already aware of the risks posed by warm weather and leaving your pets in hot cars, but did you know that cold weather can be equally dangerous to your beloved pet’s health. If Fido is joining you on your journey, don’t leave them in your car, not only for a moment. Just like people, pet’s are at risk of hypothermia, frost bite, and even death in extreme conditions. Don’t risk their health; bring them inside.

#5. Tell Someone Where You’re Going

One rule of thumb when traveling, no matter the weather, is to always tell someone where you’re headed. Include your chosen route. A quick text before you start driving, to a close friend or relative, is all it takes to let someone know what way you’re headed. If something were to happen, at least your contact will have an idea of where you were headed. This information could mean all the difference in the world. Just don’t advertise it.

#6. Stay Focused

Traveling in cold, icy, and/or snowy conditions are dangerous. That’s why it’s vital that you stay focused on the road. This means NO texting and driving, eating and driving, or looking becoming distracted by the kids and driving. If you find it necessary to do any of these, safely exit the road. Staying focused on the road ahead could save your life. If you get tired while driving, always pull off the road to take a power nap, or grab some coffee: black.

Other Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips

  • Buckle up! Even if you’re just running to the store for some last minute eggnog, remember to ALWAYS buckle up. Not only is it the law; you life also depends on it.
  • Don’t drink and drive! Does your celebration include drinking? Designate a designated driver before the fun begins. Remind others to do the same. If necessary, take the keys of all holiday guests, thus ensuring everyone’s safety.
  • Plan your route in advance! When planning your route, it’s a good idea to check traffic and weather reports in advance. While technology is great, it’s recommended to always carry a backup; so don’t forget to bring along a paper map.
  • Follow the rules of the road! Refrain from speeding, swerving in and out of lanes, or cutting other drivers off. Remember excess traffic may mean you’ll have to travel below posted speed limits. Don’t respond to aggressive drivers.

From your friends at Action Barricade Company LLC., we want to wish you a very happy and safe holiday!

Family Road Trip Survival Guide

family road trip

I love road trips! Just thinking of the many memories I’ve created, and will continue to create with my loved ones in tow, sends shivers of excitement down my spine. Road tripping, is my family’s preferred way of travel, as we enjoy venturing to area’s unknown and meeting new people along the way.

So how do you prepare for a family road trip? We each have our own way to ensure we’re ready, whether it’s a detailed packing list, or downloading your favorite songs and apps. Below you’ll find a collection of tips that can help you survive any road trip.

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

You know your destination, but you have no idea what the best route is to take to avoid delay, or which pit stops you should make. You’ll save yourself, and your passengers, a lot of time and stress if you map out what route you plan on taking well in advance of your departure date.

Equally important, is to share your traveling dates and route with close family members or friends, just in case. One website that can help you plan your route as well as calculate costs, time, and distance is Roadtrippers. It’s also available as an iOS app.

Avoid Getting Hangry

Your energy is zapped, your stomach is rumbling, and you find yourself getting increasingly agitated – and to make matters worse the next exit is miles away. Your hunger has officially led to anger. Avoid getting hangry altogether by packing enough food to last you the entire road trip.

To avoid relying on junk food (which only zaps your energy that much quicker), pack healthier foods and drinks, even if it means bringing a cooler. You’ll thank us later. Some great options include energy bars, cheese sticks, nuts, and coffee as well as juice.

Pre-Charge All of Your Gadgets

Smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, portable DVD players; oh my! Dare we admit we can’t survive a road trip without these technologies? Probably not – and that’s okay. These technologies can, no doubt, make any family road trip more enjoyable; when they’re fully charged.

There’s nothing worse than getting an hour into an eight-hour trip and having one of the kid’s iPads run out of juice – let the backseat tug-of-war ensue. If you want to survive your road trip, make sure to fully charge all of your gadgets ahead of time, and bring plenty of extra batteries/chargers.

Download the Right Apps

A few must-have apps include Waze, which helps you navigate around traffic, and construction jams; iExit, which allows you to discover stop worthy restaurants and hotels, and other popular venues; and of course GasBuddy, which finds the cheapest gas. Available on both iOS and Android.

Err…On the Side of Caution

Opt for safety above all things – remember you’re hauling precious cargo! No matter how tight your schedule may be, it’s important to take plenty of breaks, stopping at scenic rest stops. Refrain from following too close to another driver, cutting them off, or honking your horn.

You never know what type of car troubles you’ll encounter on the road. That’s why it’s a smart idea to never leave home without a fully packed emergency road side kit. A road side kit should include the following tools and supplies:

  • Flash light(s)
  • Jumper cables
  • A first-aid kit
  • A bottle of fix-a-flat
  • Fire extinguisher (trust me)
  • Road flares or hazard triangles
  • A change of clothes, blankets, and food

Happy traveling from your friend’s at Action Barricade!

3 Ways to Handle Road Closures and Delays

road closures

Here are three proven ways to help yourself shorten your ride should you encounter road closures, barricades due to road construction, local events, accidents (which always seem to go hand-in-hand with lookie-loos) and other traffic delays.

#1: Check for Road Conditions Ahead of Time

If the road you normally travel on is closed due to road construction, natural disasters, or local events, you typically won’t know it until you’ve already begun your commute. But there are ways to check the status of a roadway and predict the possible delays before getting behind the wheel of your car.

Apps such as Waze (available on iOS and Android) let you check the status of a specific highway or street via information they receive from fellow users as well as the Arizona Department of Transportation. Putting a call into 511 will also inform you of any traffic delays due to accidents, construction, events, etc.

#2: Get a Heads-Up While in Commute

Few things are more frustrating than coming to a complete halt on your way home from a long day at work and being helpless to do anything about it until an exit appears or traffic clears. This is where those smartphones of ours can really come in handy.

Using the same sources listed in Tip #1, you can use your smartphone to check the status of the road ahead of you, while you’re driving. Simply place your phone in a hands-free mount and be alerted by fellow drivers before you approach police, accidents, road closures or those dreaded traffic jams.

#3: Put Plan B (or C) into Action to Get Ahead

In dire situations, when the roadway before you promises hour-plus delays, consider putting a plan b (or c) into action. I can’t stress the importance of this tip enough – as it really pays to plan alternative routes. These routes will allow you to take another road or highway to arrive home with your sanity intact.

Take for example: my go-to choice when traveling along Loop 101 is to jump onto the frontage road until I see traffic moving smoothly again. Some of the best ways to know if your alternative plan will shorten your ride is to travel them yourself, ask friends and family, and use smartphone apps.

Avoid Traffic Congestion for a Smooth Ride

I live in Phoenix and during rush hour my two daily commutes last roughly forty-five minutes to an hour each.  When I’m lucky enough to miss rush hour all together, however, my commute lasts just under thirty minutes.  And, boy let me tell you, I love missing rush hour!  Who wouldn’t?

Over many months and let’s be honest, much frustration, as I sat in my vehicle waiting for traffic to clear up, yet again, I realized there had to be a better way.  There had to be other ways, better ways, to detect and subsequently avoid traffic congestion rather than just waiting for the radio station’s “traffic report”.

Why had my research intuitive mind never realized it before?  Once my brain became sensitized to finding inventive ways to avoid traffic congestion, I started to find a variety of interesting traffic detection software, websites and apps.  Most of which worked pretty well when put to the test.

By using one, or a combination, of the following methods to avoid traffic congestion you’ll be assured a smooth ride as you bypass the pitfalls associated with rush hour traffic.

Map out Alternative Routes

I can’t stress this enough!  One of the best, and quite frankly, the easiest methods for ensuring you’re able to avoid traffic congestion is to simply map out alternative routes.  And, while two will suffice, it is ideal to map out a few more than that.  So that you can better imagine alternating your route, here is an example:

On any given day, I must travel down Interstate 10 to arrive home, which as we all know is notorious for traffic congestion.   But by alternating my route by just a few blocks, so that I get on and off on a different exit, I’m able to effectively shave time off of my commute.  My advice for finding alternative routes includes:

  • Asking your friends, and/or co-workers, if they know of any shortcuts you could use to shorten your ride.
  • Review online and offline maps to explore routes.  Online maps, including those on your smartphones, will generally provide you with an estimated time of arrival.

Play With Your Timing

If it seems like your always stuck driving in rush hour traffic, like me, you may want to consider speaking with your boss about tweaking your time just a little bit.  Starting a half hour later could help you avoid traffic congestion all together.

Listen to Traffic Reports

Traffic reports are broadcast on virtually every radio station a few times per hour during rush hour.  It pays to continue listening to these reports for the duration of your ride so as to ensure you don’t get stuck behind a traffic accident later on down the road.

Get Traffic Information on Your Phone

Using apps, such as Waze, allows you to get status updates from other drivers advising you of any negative traffic conditions before leaving your location – please steer away from using this or any other app while on the road.

These apps can provide you turn-by-turn directions, traffic speed information, see information on accidents, street closures or police barricades – all of which is provided by other users, first respondents, fleet operators and local transportation departments.