Work Zone

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a work zone?
A. A work zone is a designated area on a street or highway where construction is taking place.
Q. How should I react in a work zone?
A. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Construction activity very close to a road involving workers and equipment can be very distracting. Be prepared to take action quickly, and expect the unexpected. If you are merging into another lane, try not to wait until the last minute. If a flagger stops you, be patient and realize the inconvenience is temporary. Allow ample space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Avoid passing in a work zone. Be patient. Turn on your headlights.
Q. Why is "tailgating" extremely dangerous in a work zone?
A. Most rear-end crashes occur when cars follow too closely. They do not have enough room to stop. You need at least 2.5 seconds to react and one second for every 10 mph you are traveling. If you are traveling in a work zone at 55 mph, you need at least eight seconds to stop.
Q. Why is speeding dangerous in a work zone?
A. Speed is the number one contributing factor in work zone crashes. The speed limit is often lowered because of potentially hazardous conditions in the work zone. The posted speed limit will let you know what speed you should drive.
Q. What is the penalty for speeding in a work zone?
A. Speeding in designated work zones in North Carolina can result in a penalty of $250, plus court costs.
Q. Why should you slow down when you don't see anyone working?
A. Physical hazards, such as traffic shifts or lane reductions, may be present. Obey the posted speed limit.
Q. What if you cause a fatal or serious injury in a work zone?
A. In North Carolina, if you injure someone in a crash (including crashes in work zones), you are responsible for a person's injuries and any traffic violations that are issued as a result of your involvement in the crash. If there is a fatality as a result of the crash (including crashes in work zones), you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. The district attorney reviews each case based on the circumstances and makes the decisions whether to bring charges against the driver

Work Zone Driving Tips

More Information

Even though workers might not be present in work zones, motorists should still expect narrowed or closed lanes, traffic shifts and reduced speed limits as well as other conditions that might affect normal travel.

  • Stay alert: Dedicate your full attention to the roadway.
  • Pay close attention: Signs and work zone flaggers save lives.
  • Watch out for road debris.
  • Turn on your headlights: Workers and other motorists must see you.
  • Don't tailgate.
  • Don't speed: Note the posted speed limits in and around a work zone.
  • Keep up with the traffic flow.
  • Don't change lanes in a work zone.
  • Minimize distractions: Avoid changing radio stations and using mobile phones while driving a work zone.
  • Expect the unexpected: Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment.
  • Be patient : and obey posted speed limits.: Remember, the work zone crew members are working to improve your future ride. (The penalty for speeding through a marked work zone is $250.)
  • Watch out for road debris.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Use alternate routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion.
  • Leave early to get a head start on your drive and travel at non-peak times.

For Trucking Professionals

Under Construction: Trucking in the Work Zone

Trucking Resources

North Carolina’s highways are the workplace of the professional trucking industry. These professionals travel through work zones on a daily basis and regularly encounter the various hazards associated with a work zone. The N.C. Department of Transportation, in partnership with Carolinas Associated General Contractors and the North Carolina Trucking Association, has produced an educational video specifically for professional truck drivers.

Filmed in several North Carolina work zones and featuring real-life truck drivers, state troopers and an NCDOT engineer, Under Construction: Trucking in the Work Zone illustrates how professional truck drivers can make a difference by paying attention and driving the speed limit.