Navigating Construction Zones with Mike Wallace

Construction zone

I recently sat down with Mike Wallace, the lead learning and development specialist for Con-way Truckload, to get his point of view on construction zone safety and best practices for drivers in these situations. Check out the interview below for his insight.


Katlin Owens: Is there a particular time of year when construction zones are most prevalent?
Mike Wallace: Highway construction is most prevalent as soon as the weather clears up and enough construction workers can work outside. Most truck drivers say there are two seasons, Winter and Construction.

KO: What are the biggest things to look for when entering a construction zone?
MW: Some of the most important things to look for are, speed limits, construction workers, moving equipment, and other traffic going through the construction zones.

KO: Why are construction zones so dangerous, especially for truckers?
MW: Because of the constricted space limited by the barriers and congestion. The danger also increases when other motorist do not obey the posted speed limits.

KO: What are the biggest concerns in construction zones?
MW: Getting the big picture and paying attention to everything that is going on in front, beside and behind at all times. Also, leaving enough space in front of you to be able to stop in the event anything should happen suddenly.

KO: How does Con-way prepare their drivers for these situations?
MW: We teach the Smith System of Defensive Driving, which focuses on the following teaching points. Aim high in steering, get the big picture, keep your eyes moving, leave yourself an out, and make sure they see you.

KO: Do you tell new drivers anything specific about handling these unexpected situations?
MW: It is all covered in the classroom portion of Smith System.

KO: What is the most important thing a driver should remember when in a work zone?
MW: There are two very important things. They are, control your speed and leave yourself plenty of room.

KO: Are there any other details or points that you would like to add?
MW: With the conception of the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Program (CSA), it is utterly important that drivers control their speed through constructions zones. Besides being extremely dangerous to speed through them and increasing the chance for a crash, a ticket received in a construction zone is a 10 point violation times 3 for the first year on the CSA.

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