How To Deal With Road Works

Last Updated: 10/04/2021

Few things frustrate motorists more than roadworks.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of dread when you see signs warning of roadworks ahead.

Thankfully, there are ways of dealing with driving in road works to make things a little easier.

A huge amount of time can be added to journeys by being stuck in delays caused by road works.

If you’re particularly unlucky, tailbacks on a motorway can last for miles upon miles and take hours to pass through.

Road works also bring other problems which are much more serious than some wasted time.

There are dangers associated with road works due to changing of speed limits, changes in road layout, uneven road surfaces and maintenance trucks or equipment in the road way.

Furthermore, some drivers just do not give roadworks the attention they require and drive inconsiderately through them.

With a little bit of careful planning, some road works can actually be avoided in journeys and even when they can’t be, there are steps you can take to ensure that your passage through delays caused by road works are the least stressful as possible.

There are also steps you can take to negate the problems potentially caused by other drivers and also the risks posed by other scenarios.

What You Will Learn

Much of what you need for driving in road works is common sense for many people, or will come naturally to other drivers, but we’ve compiled a guide which can help guide you through the them.

Our guide for how to deal with road works will focus on several areas.

Our step-by-step guide is going to give you instructions for how to drive through a section of road works.

This will include what to be looking out for and also what not to do.

In our hints and tips section, we will give you some pointers as to planning journeys without road works and some other bits of information that should make things a little easier for you.

This is how we’ve decided to structure our guide for dealing with road works:

  • Step-By-Step Guide
  • Hints & Tips
  • Useful Information
  • Final Thoughts
  • Further Resources

Step-By-Step Guide

Driving in road works isn’t always a case of following a set sequence of instructions but more a general list of advice which will stand you in good stead.

So, with that in mind, here is our guide to dealing with road works:

  • When we’re talking about delays caused by road works, prevention is always better than cure! Before you undertake any significant journey, check to see that there are no road works on the route ahead. We will give you ways of doing that in our ‘Useful Information’ section below.
  • When you see signs warning of road works, begin to slow down. Moderate your speed and adhere to the two-second rule of leaving a large enough gap between yourself and the vehicle in front.
  • Be observant for road layout changes. Depending on the type of road and the scale of the road works that are being carried out, the road may have some significant modifications while the road works are on-going. This could include the narrowing of lanes, uneven or loose road surface and moving on to the opposite side of a carriageway.
  • Look out for signs warning of road traffic management precautions such as average speed cameras or the use of temporary traffic lights.
  • Look a far ahead up the road as possible so that you’re prepared for any slow-down in the flow of traffic. This will give you the most amount of time possible to slow down and increase the gap between you and vehicles ahead.
  • Keep lane changes to a minimum and if you do swap lanes do so smoothly. You should also check blind spots, mirrors and signal when doing so.
  • Do not drive erratically. Road works can be dangerous environments as vehicles group together and other obstacles come in to play. Make sure that any driving movements are smooth and measured. No dramatic acceleration or braking, unless essential.

Hints & Tips

As we’ve already alluded to, every set of road works is different and so while we can offer advice as to what you should do, you’ll need to take each one on their own merits.

Here are a few more hints and tips for dealing with road works:

Get In Lane As Soon As Possible:

When driving in to roadworks, lane changes may often be required.

Even if they’re not essential, if you know you need to leave the road at a forthcoming junction then pick your lane as early as possible.

This means you won’t have to panic and move later on, potentially dangerously so.

Remove Distractions:

Road works can be boring, so remove any distractions that you may be tempted to use before you set off.

This is particularly pertinent in the case of mobile phones.

If you’re running late because of road works, you’re even more likely to reach for your phone to let people know.

Any distraction, no matter how brief, can be incredibly dangerous.

Watch Out For Machinery & Workers:

In some road works, there will be a lot of movement of maintenance vehicles or equipment, not to mention the staff working on them.

Always be mindful of this, whether the road works are in a 20mph limit or a 50mph limit.

Never allow yourself to switch off.

Useful Information

Avoiding road works is the best chance you have of making them stress-free when you’re making a journey.

To do this, try to check road works before you leave home.

This information if freely available now using the likes of Google Maps.

If you enter your starting point and destination, Google will plot a route for you and highlight any slow stretches of road or road works along the way.

If you’re using a satellite navigation system, this may also provide live traffic updates during your journey which will allow you to avoid any issues.

Also, if your car stereo has the option of hearing traffic bulletins automatically, set it to do so.

Not only will these warn you of any road works but they may also suggest alternative routes.

Final Thoughts

In summary, driving in road works is not fun and can be both stressful and frustrating for you, your passengers and fellow road users, however, by observing all of the information we have provided in this guide, you may be able to avoid them all together or at least drive through them safely.

Further Resources