MDT urges driver safety in construction zones


MISSOULA, Mont. - Major road construction is well underway in Montana, with dozens of projects in the works around the state.

"They say in Montana there are two seasons: winter and construction," Missoula resident Andy Schmidt said. "I think we're all pretty used to it."

For those who aren't, The Montana Department of Transportation offered NBC Montana a list of tips for drivers passing through work zones:

-- Always check the speed limit; it varies in each work zone -- Don't tailgate -- Don't speed -- Keep up with the flow of traffic -- Don't change lanes until you're out of the work zone

NBC Montana talked to others who offered more advice.

"Keep an eye on people working and the guys doing the traffic control," Missoula resident Sunnie Trail said. "Watch out for the cones, stay on the road and drive safe."

"Slow down and use your blinker," Schmidt said.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol in 2015 there were 131 crashes in Montana work zones. Last year there were 149 and so far this year 34 crashes have already been reported..

MHP officials estimate 2017's numbers will be up again.

Transportation officials say most work zone crashes are caused by distracted drivers or drivers who fail to obey the speed limit.