Traffic BarrelsNobody’s job is easy.  However, road workers have one of the hardest jobs of all.  And while most of us feel relatively safe at our jobs, road work can turn deadly.  Still, Michigan drivers seem to feel no need to slow down, as is evidenced by the construction zone by the Nine Mile bridge in Ferndale.

Jason MickI’m not a perfect driver, I’ll admit that.  I tend to “go with the flow”, which sometimes means going 10 over the speed limit.  I’ve gotten a ticket or two before for such indiscretion, and don’t think poorly of others who’ve had similar mishaps.

However, as much as love to get to where I’m going a bit faster than the legal limit might allow, something’s been really irritating lately — people speeding through the Nine Mile construction zone.

Every day I drive down from the northern suburbs to Wayne State University and every evening I return.  I take I-75 both ways, and every day I encounter the same phenomena.  I’ll be going 75 to 80 mph in the leftmost lane and my fellow road denizens will be happy as can be.

Nine Mile Bridge

The Nine Mile Bridge, post accident (source: Daily Tribune)

Then I hit the construction zone, and I slow down to 45 mph — the prescribed speed limit in construction zones.  Why do I obey the law?  First, I don’t want a pricey doubled ticket (as Michigan raises traffic fines in construction zones).  Second, and more importantly, the construction workers often work very close to the road and I don’t want to put their lives in jeopardy.

My fellow drivers, by and large seem to have no such scruples, though.  I’ve been honked at, flicked off, and angrily passed, all because I wasn’t will to put highway workers’ lives in jeopardy by speeding through the construction zone.  I’ve taken to going in the middle lane, hoping the slower speed would mean more people would tend to slow down.  No such luck — even in this slower lane, I’m still getting the same response.  Apparently everyone wants to speed through the zone.

Construction

The Nine Mile Bridge, under reconstruction (source: Detroit News)

So if even a few people read this I hope they think twice next time.  Slow down at Nine Mile.  You have families and friends too.  How would your loved ones feel if you never returned home, because you were hit by some speeding fool who clearly and deliberately ignored posted warnings that were designed to safeguard you?  Every year hundreds of road workers are hit and seriously injured or killed.  Let’s give Detroit a good name and follow MDOT’s suggestion — give road workers “a brake”.