Give 'em a brake

National Work Zone Awareness Week emphasizes the importance of slowing down, paying attention and practicing caution in work zones. 

Employees in work zones are spouses, parents, children, siblings and friends – and they all deserve to go home safe at the end of their shift. Crews work while traffic speeds by just feet or inches away. They work to keep all travelers safe, either through repairs or new construction. Far too many have had close calls or injuries. Others have been killed on the job. They deserve our respect and extra attention. We work hard to keep our workers safe with equipment and training. We also need the traveling public’s help to keep everyone on the road safe.

Work Zone Safety Infographic (PDF 718KB)

Work Zone Collision Fact Sheet (PDF 3MB)

National Work Zone Awareness Week

Every year, WSDOT, alongside other DOTs from across the country participate in work zone safety awareness week. The department held its first Worker Memorial in nearly three years on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at the agency headquarters building in Olympia. Governor Jay Inslee attended the ceremony and signed a bill that authorizes the use of speed enforcement cameras in work zones - a welcome step in efforts to keep road workers and the public safe on state highways.

WSDOT promotes work zone safety year 'round, but especially during the month of April and ahead of a busy summer construction season.

Drivers generally don’t think they are at risk in work zones. They're wrong.

  • Washington averages almost 626 highway work zone injuries each year.
  • Almost 95 percent of the people injured or killed in work zone collisions are drivers and their passengers.
  • The top three causes of work zone crashes are following too closely, speeding, and distracted/inattentive driving.

Work zone safety tips

We ask all drivers in work zones to:

  • Slow down – drive the posted speeds, they're there for your safety.
  • Be kind – our workers are out there helping to keep you safe and improve the roadways.
  • Pay attention – both to workers directing you and surrounding traffic; put your phone down when behind the wheel.
  • Stay calm – expect delays, leave early or take an alternate route if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone's life.

Work zone safety video

More about about roadway safety via this video.

Sam Dawsons’s story (South Central Region) - 2023

Luke Rosman’s story (Eastern Region) - 2023

Since 1950, 60 Washington State Department of Transportation employees have lost their lives in work zone-related activities. Each spring, WSDOT holds a Worker’s Memorial to honor those fallen workers and remind everyone about the importance of work zone safety.

2024 WSDOT Worker Memorial Ceremony

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 | 10 a.m. 

Ceremony will be recorded and available on WSDOT's YouTube channel. Photos of the ceremony will be posted to WSDOT's Flickr page.

Slow down on ice and snow.

It's easier to skid or lose control traveling at higher speeds. Give yourself more time to stop.

Carry chains, practice installing them.

Winter conditions could mean chains are required on your route. Practice putting them on your vehicle ahead of time.

Pack your winter car kit.

Carry extra supplies like warm clothing, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables and other emergency items.