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Editorial: Incidents show need for cautious holiday driving

Nov. 17, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

The number of orange construction barrels along the nation's roadways may not be plentiful this time of year, but that doesn't necessarily mean that highway workers aren't out and susceptible to careless drivers.

Two West Virginia Division of Highways workers were struck by vehicles in the last week, prompting officials to renew their oft-repeated call for motorists to slow down when they are driving in work zones.

Both workers were hurt while clearing roadside debris left by Superstorm Sandy, a Department of Transportation official told The Daily Mail of Charleston. One accident occurred in Randolph County when a vehicle swerved too closely to where workers were clearing brush. That driver left the scene. The second happened in Nicholas County as a group of trucks passed a DOH work crew. A truck struck a worker who was flagging traffic around the crew, critically injuring him.

A highways spokesman said both incidents could have been avoided if drivers had simply slowed down.

In their wake, Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox issued this plea: "It is crucial that all drivers slow down and stay alert when entering work zones. Obeying the signs and staying aware of your surroundings will ensure the safety of everyone."

As millions of motorists head out on the highways for Thanksgiving and later holidays at the end of the year, that is good advice for all to follow.

Driving in work zones requires an abundance of caution for safety's sake, but with many roadways likely to be crowded in the days and weeks ahead, being alert and avoiding excess speed will be crucial at all times and not just in work zones.

If we all drive carefully, we'll all be safer and more likely to avoid tragedies during this holiday season.

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