AUSTIN, Texas – As part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) workers have constructed a giant snake and other creatures using previously-hit orange traffic barrels in an effort to remind drivers to slow down in highway work zones.
Work Zone Awareness Week runs until April 15.
The giant snake sculpture, along with a T-Rex and several others, is located at the Texas Travel Center in the West Texas town of Anthony. All of the sculptures were made from barrels that had been previously struck by cars and trucks on Texas highways.
According to a TxDOT news release, traffic deaths related to work zones have increased sharply, up to 33% this year. Last year, close to 200 people died in motor vehicle crashes related to construction zones. Officials believe speeding and driver inattention are the leading causes.
The state currently has a “Move Over, Slow Down” law which requires drivers to move over a lane or reduce speed to 20 mph when approaching emergency vehicles, construction, tow trucks or utility vehicles with flashing lights activated. Those who fail to comply can face a fine of up to $2,000.
TxDOT provided five tips for driving safely through a work zone:
- Slow down, follow posted speed limits;
- Pay attention and avoid distractions;
- Watch for road crews wearing protective clothing such as hard hats, reflective clothing, etc.;
- Don’t tailgate, give yourself room to stop if needed;
- Allow extra time to your destination if construction exists.
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