Whenever you are making a car journey it always frustrating when you see the dreaded words "Road works ahead". This can be annoying particularly if you are in a hurry, but it is important to realise that they should be treated with caution.
The best way to avoid the major delays often caused by scheduled road works is to find out where they are and avoid them if you can. This may be easier said than done, but there are few things you can do before and during your journey that could help you avoid them.
Online traffic information
The road works that often cause the biggest delays are major scheduled road works. If you visit the Highways Agency website before you travel, you can find information on when and where these are going to take place.
Due to the extensive planning and organisation involved in major road maintenance or alterations, these events are often planned months and sometimes years in advance. As soon as the these plans are finalised they should be available to find on the Highways Agency website.
The site provides a number of methods for motorists to check specific areas or roads for disruptions on the day of your journey. A few minutes on this site could save you a lot of time and allow you to plan an alternative route.
Traffic information is also available from motoring organisation websites such as the AA or RAC.
Traffic Information and Sat Nav
Many Sat Nav systems can display traffic information updates while your driving or planning your journey, others offer this as an optional extra, paid as a one off-fee or on a subscription basis.
The source and accuracy of this information may vary from one product to the next, but it could be worth investigating these features if you already have a Sat Nav or are intending to buy one in the near future.
Local radio, RDS and DAB Radio traffic information
Many local radio stations offer a regularly updated source of traffic information for their broadcast area. This could just mean you have to tune-in to the local station for these updates.
If you have an RDS (Radio Data System) equipped digital radio in your car you can set your radio to automatically interrupt whatever you are listening to and switch to the local traffic reports. This function will be indicated by 'TP','TA' or 'Traffic' on your radio.
Traffic information on your mobile phone
There are a number of traffic information services available for mobile phones ranging from simple audio reports to fully interactive smart phone applications.
Bear in mind that in the UK it is illegal to use your mobile phone whilst you are driving.
How to drive safely through road works
Although the speed restrictions often cause delays and congestion through road works, they are put in place for very good reasons.
Every year many road maintenance technicians are killed or injured during road maintenance work thanks to careless drivers. Due to the very nature of the work, they are often operating in very close proximity to moving traffic and so it is necessary to impose strict speed restrictions in order to reduce the risk of injury.
When you are driving through road works there are a number of things you should consider:-
Pay attention to road signs and instructions. Road works can often involve complex re-routing of traffic flows, so it is vital that you follow any directions or instructions as you approach the diversion
Get into the correct lane. If there are 2 or more lanes of slow moving traffic, don't be tempted to keep switching lanes. It is unlikely that you are going save much time in the process and it could increase your chances of having a collision
Don't be distracted. Pay attention to the vehicles around you, not the activities of the road workers
Keep your distance from the vehicle front. If you are in a traffic queue it's possible that the vehicle in front may have to stop abruptly, try to leave at least 2 or three car lengths between you and the vehicle in front
Look out for workers and plant machinery. From time to time workers or plant machinery may have to cross the traffic lanes
Don't exceed the speed restriction. Speed restrictions can vary as you pass through road works, so pay close attention to the signs. They are there for your own safety as well as others
Drive carefully. Temporary traffic lanes can sometimes be narrower than regular traffic lanes, so extra care may be needed when manoeuvring
If you have had a car accident and would like some free help and advice please call us on 02392 484 244 and one of our UK based advisors will be happy to help.