Their lives depend on you: A message to drivers from highway workers

Belmont County

(WTRF) – The orange cones, blinking signs and reduced speed limits can seem like a hassle as we navigate the roadways; but what’s an inconvenience for some drivers, is a critical tool to protect highway workers. 

After workers were hit by a vehicle in Wheeling on Thursday, both the Ohio and West Virginia Departments of Transportation have a simple message for drivers.

The lives of their workers depend on you. 

We got a wife, kids, grandkids and we wanna go home and see them. We wanna go give them a hug.

Perry Myers, Tuscarawas County Highway Technician

It’s a dangerous and oftentimes thankless task, fixing the Ohio Valley’s roadways. 

While these workers are doing their jobs, they need drivers to do theirs. 

Just slow down, move over and just watch out for us. Give us the space we need to do our job.

Perry Myers, Tuscarawas County Highway Technician

They said all those signs are there for a reason, so drivers know when to be extra cautions.  

We got a lot of advance warning signs out there and message boards and so forth trying to get the message out of what motorists can expect going through a work zone.

Mike Witherow, WVDOH District Construction Engineer

They ask that you heed the warnings, especially about speed.

When somebody comes through the work zone speeding it’s no longer a safe environment, and so that’s a lot of times why we’ll implement a work zone speed limit.

Mike Witherow, WVDOH District Construction Engineer

While the Department of Transportation takes extra precautions to keep workers safe, there’s one more thing drivers can do that makes a big difference. That’s getting rid of distractions.

Don’t use your phone period. If you’re getting a phone call let it ring. Wait till you get to a safe spot to pull over. It’s not worth it. It’s not work texting and being in an accident or hurt yourself or somebody else around you. 

Perry Myers, Tuscarawas County Highway Technician

We’re out there trying to get a job done and so you can’t pay attention to traffic 100% of the time and that’s where we ask that everybody kind of pay attention and be safe heading through our zones.

Mike Witherow, WVDOH District Construction Engineer

According to ODOT, 23 highway workers across the United States are killed in roadside accidents each month.

Whether or not the Ohio Valley’s workers go home at night could be decided by you. 

At the end of the dayI just wanna be there for my daughter. That’s the most important thing is to be home safe. Just remember that we want you to get home safe and I hope you want us to get home safe if we’re out there working on the roadways because we all have family.

Josh Luyster, Belmont County Highway Technician

Something else to keep in mind is moving over if you see highway workers on the side of the road, because all their work is not in major construction zones. They add you should also be doing this for emergency vehicles and tow trucks. 

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