Each spring, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and other state DOTs recognize Work Zone Awareness Week to remind drivers of the importance of avoiding distractions and driving safely through work zones, including Route 460 in Bedford County.

The annual observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week is from April 26-30, and this week is a reminder that work zone safety is everyone’s responsibility.

“Our employees and contractors put their lives on the line in work zones every day while working to improve travel for motorists in Virginia,” VDOT stated. “This is true in mobile operations like mowing, paving and plowing snow, as well as in our established work zones for long-term construction projects like those on I-81 near Buchanan and at exits 143, 114 and 105 and other routes like Orange Avenue at Hollins Road in Roanoke and Route 460 in Bedford County near Montvale. Although signs, cones and safety vests can be effective in warning motorists of a work zone, these tools are no protection against a fast-moving vehicle or an inattentive driver.”

VDOT provided the following information:

• Every time drivers take their focus off the road — even for a moment — they put their lives and the lives of others in danger.

• In addition to the dangers posed to highway workers, motorists are also at risk: 80 percent of those killed in work zone crashes are vehicle occupants.

• In 2020, there were 1,547 injuries and 11 fatalities resulting from work zone crashes in the state.

All motorists — whether a seasoned driver or someone new behind the wheel — are asked to follow these instructions when driving through a work zone:

• When you see the orange work zone warning signs, be alert for changing conditions ahead.

• Slow down in work zones and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

• Follow Virginia’s new phones down law. It can wait.

In addition, to show support for National Work Zone Awareness Week, VDOT encourages the public to wear orange in support of work zone safety across the country as part of the national “Go Orange Day” today, April 28. Share pictures on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #GoOrangeVa.

“We appreciate your efforts to keep our roads and work zones safe for everyone,” VDOT stated. “Let’s all arrive at home safely each and every day.”

Read more stories in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view articles in the print and/or e-edition version.

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