EASTERN OREGON:  A dozen fatalities on roadways

EASTERN OREGON: A dozen fatalities on roadways

Over the past week, a dozen fatalities have occurred on state highways in eastern Oregon. These tragedies are a stark reminder that we must all remain vigilant and focused on safety when we travel our roadways. The most recent fatal crash occurred Tuesday night in a work zone on OR 11 in Umatilla County near Athena, where a flagger was struck and killed. Wednesday night, at 9 p.m., a work zone flagger on OR 99W was hit and seriously injured eight miles south of Monmouth.
Recent fatal crashes over the past week in eastern Oregon
• Aug. 8: OR 201, mile point 19.5, 1 fatality
• Aug. 11: US 95, mile point 97, 1 fatality
• Aug. 12: Interstate 84, mile point 307, south of Baker City, 1 fatality
• Aug. 13: OR 78, mile point 30, 8 fatalities
• Aug. 14: OR 11, mile point 16, 1 fatality
Whether you’re on a short trip to the store, traveling long distances or navigating through a work zone, use these safety tips to help keep you and others safe on the roadway.
Driving safely in work zones
• Pay complete attention to your driving, especially in the transition zone before the work area. An inattentive driver is the most common cause of work zone crashes.
• Orange is your clue! Pay attention when you see orange signs, barrels, cones, and barricades.
• Obey all speed signs, because speed may be reduced for your safety and the safety of workers.
• Double your following distance. Don’t tailgate.
• Get in the correct lane well in advance.
• Remember, work zone traffic lanes often are narrow, without shoulders or emergency lanes.
• When possible, move over to give workers more room between them and your vehicle.
• Be aware of temporary construction accesses on either side of the roadway.
• Watch for construction vehicles and don’t follow them as they travel into and out of the work areas.
• Expect delays — plan for them and leave early so you can drive safely through the work zone.
• Know before you go! Call 511 or visit www.TripCheck.com to check routes, work zones, and road and weather conditions before you head out.
• Avoid work zones when you can use an alternate route.
General travel safety tips
• Obey all traffic signs and highway markings, such as no passing zones.
• Slow down, drive according to the conditions of the roadway.
• Be extra mindful on long stretches of rural highways.
• Take frequent breaks to avoid drowsy driving.
• Never stop in the roadway, pull well over onto the shoulder if you need to stop for any reason.
• Reduce distraction, put cell phones away and stay focused on the task of driving.
• Give yourself extra space in front and behind your vehicle.
• Plan your trip so you have time to get where you’re going and are not rushed.
• Check TripCheck.com for current conditions, work zones, web cameras and possible delays.
Visit our safety pages at www.oregon.gov/ODOT for more tips and learn about our Drive Healthy program.