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Even as winter approaches, repair and asphalting work continues on district roads and city streets, often subject to traffic restrictions. However, drivers do not always respect them in good faith, leading to dangerous accidents on these sections, the risk of which increases with the number of days. Police say some of the accidents would have been avoided if residents had behaved more responsibly at the wheel, adhered to traffic rules and traffic safety requirements. At the time, road users say they are making efforts to ensure the safety of both workers and road users during the work.
Lack of driver awareness
Aurelijus Braželis, Infrastructure Business Manager of YIT Lietuva, a sustainable urban and infrastructure development company engaged in road construction, repair and pavement renovation, says that the road maintenance season will last until mid-December. This means that more work has to be done during the dark hours of the day, when working and traffic conditions are more difficult.
"We try to keep the inconvenience to drivers as little as possible during road repairs. Unfortunately, these efforts are not always appreciated. Some drivers are reluctant to express their dissatisfaction with temporary speed limits, a single lane or other necessary measures taken during work. Other drivers simply lack care and attention, respect for other road users and professionals, ”says A. Braželis.
According to A. Braželis, there are often cases when drivers do not follow the signs or traffic lights on the repaired road section, obstruct special barriers, signs, heavy equipment, and pose a risk to employees.
Particular care is required in the sections being repaired
Renatas Siaurusaitis, Chief Specialist of the Administrative Activity and Traffic Supervision Division of the Lithuanian Road Police Service, confirms that traffic accidents are more common on road sections where repairs are being carried out. According to him, road work usually narrows the carriageway and creates various obstacles, so drivers on such sections should be even more careful.
“Drivers should understand that road repairs are done for their benefit. It is not a matter of resenting repairs, but of demonstrating maturity and awareness, driving at a safe speed, following a safe distance from other road users, following road signs, the instructions of the traffic controller, the rules of the road and responsible driving. The responsibility of drivers helps to perform work smoother and faster and helps to ensure the safety of all road users, ”says R. Siaurusaitis.
According to a police spokesman, it is especially important to follow warning road signs and take all necessary precautions when driving in the dark, when driving conditions are already more challenging . He notes that in September-October last year, the percentage of accidents during the dark hours that affected people did not exceed 25% for a single month. However, a significant increase in the number of accidents at the same time was already seen in November, at 43%, and in December this figure had already exceeded half of all accidents. In January 2021, the figures remained similar, and in February, the number of accidents began to decline again after dusk. According to R. Siaurusaitis, it gets dark very early in the later months of autumn and the first winter, so it is natural that the curve of traffic accident indicators is also increasing, and traffic is becoming more intense, with more people using personal transport.
"Statistics show that most accidents occur on Fridays, early in the morning or after business hours when it is dark or completely dark. The regularity of traffic accidents during the dark hours of the day changes very little over time, as it is affected by poorer visibility, haste and recklessness. Therefore, when driving in the dark, drivers must be especially careful to choose a safe speed instead of the maximum speed, so that, if necessary, it is possible to stop the vehicle in time, ”says R. Siaurusaitis.
He notes that almost a quarter of all road accidents in which people were injured this year and more than half are 55%. - accidents resulting in fatalities due to failure to select a safe speed or speeding, a trend which has been observed from year to year. The police spokesman stresses that this is why drivers are constantly urged to choose a safe speed, especially in the dark or when driving on road sections where road works are in progress.
A lot of effort is put into ensuring security
"Probably the most difficult asphalting works without obstructing traffic in public transport lanes. As a result, we plan to work on them after the last trolleybus trip and carry out public transport to the streets the next morning. When working at night, we always provide good local lighting, warning signs with light-emitting or reflective elements. Employees always wear brightly colored, light-reflecting vests, both in the light and in the dark, and the equipment used always activates warning lights, ”says A. Braželis.
He says the highway works are being carried out on special construction sites. In all cases, the safety of road users and workers is ensured by means of the necessary measures - traffic lights, road signs, signposts. If necessary, the traffic in the repaired section is regulated by special staff.
Before planning a car trip, it is recommended that you check your road works and traffic restrictions regularly. It can be found on the website www.eismoinfo.lt, on the websites of city municipalities. Information relevant to drivers is also published on electronic information boards on city streets, via radio, and often in intelligent navigation systems and apps.