When it comes to a number of different vehicle types on the road that may utilize specialty lights during operation, a common topic that’s important to know about is right of way. And while this is fairly straightforward for emergency responders like police or firefighters, who absolutely get the right of way when their lights and sirens are on, it can be a bit more complex in areas like construction and construction vehicles.
At LED Equipped, we provide a huge range of LED lights and other products for everyone from emergency responders to many construction and similar workers, for whom we offer things like work lights, spotlights and floodlights. How does right of way work for people driving construction and similar vehicles in these settings, and what important roles do LED lights play in ensuring safety at all times here? Let’s take a look.
What is Right of Way?
Before we get into specific right of way rules as they relate to construction and similar vehicles, it’s important to first understand what right of way is in general. Right of way is the legal right of a person or vehicle to proceed before another, under specific circumstances. These circumstances are typically designed around safety; for example, emergency vehicles have the right of way because their lights and sirens signify that they’re responding to an urgent situation.
Of course, there are many different types of right of way, from those for pedestrians to those for turns at intersections. The rules can also vary depending on the jurisdiction; in some areas, specific right of way rules may be codified into law, while in others they may simply be unwritten but commonly accepted rules of the road.
It’s important for all drivers, not just those operating construction and similar vehicles, to understand right of way rules in their areas. This ensures that everyone on the road knows what to expect and can act accordingly to avoid accidents.
Construction Zones and Right of Way
Construction zones present a unique set of challenges when it comes to right of way, as there are often a number of different vehicles at play in these areas. Firstly, let’s just lay it out there: From a letter-of-the-law standpoint, it’s extremely rare for construction vehicles to be afforded any kind of legal right of way. This is because, unlike emergency vehicles, they are not responding to an urgent situation; they are simply working at a construction site.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any right of way rules that apply to construction zones. In fact, there are a number of different unwritten but commonly accepted rules that govern how drivers should behave around construction vehicles and active construction projects. Our next few sections will dig into how this often tends to work.
During Active Construction Jobs
As we’re all well aware, many construction jobs — especially those being performed on roads or highways — can block one or more lanes of traffic. This obviously has the potential to cause serious backups, so it’s important for drivers to know how to handle these situations on both sides of the spectrum.
As a construction worker, and especially if you’re driving a vehicle into or out of the construction zone, you should always use caution and yield the right of way to oncoming traffic whenever possible. Remember, just because you have a vehicle doesn’t mean that you automatically have the right of way; in fact, it’s generally the opposite. If there are no other vehicles around, feel free to proceed as normal, but as soon as another vehicle enters the picture, you should always defer to them.
On the other hand, if you’re driving through an active construction zone as a member of the general public, it’s important to use caution and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Remember that construction workers may not be able to see or hear you coming, so it’s up to you to avoid any potential accidents. If possible, it’s always best to slow down and be prepared to stop; in many cases, construction zones will have reduced speed limits in place for just this reason.
Of course, there are also a number of different construction vehicles that may be present in these areas, from excavators to dump trucks. As a general rule of thumb, you should always yield the right of way to these vehicles; they are, after all, working in the construction zone, and they may not be able to see or hear you coming.
Again, it’s important to use caution and be aware of your surroundings at all times when driving through active construction zones. By following these simple tips, you can help to ensure the safety of both yourself and the construction workers.
When Construction Lights Are Active
Construction lights are often used to warn drivers of an upcoming construction zone, or to indicate that a lane is closed ahead. In most cases, these lights will be yellow or orange in color; however, they can also be red, depending on the situation.
When you see a set of construction lights ahead, it’s important to slow down and use caution. In many cases, these lights will indicate that a lane is closed ahead, so you’ll need to merge into another lane in order to continue on your way. As always, you should use your turn signal to indicate to other drivers that you’re changing lanes, and you should check your mirrors and blind spots before doing so. In some cases, construction lights may also be used to indicate an active construction zone ahead. In these situations, you’ll need to use caution and be prepared to stop; as always, you should use your turn signal to indicate to other drivers that you’re slowing down or stopping.
Now, if you’re a construction worker operating in an area with active construction lights, it’s important to use caution and yield the right of way to oncoming traffic whenever possible. Remember that you don’t have any official right of way; while many drivers will be respectful and yield to you, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. If there are no other vehicles around, feel free to proceed as normal, but as soon as another vehicle enters the picture, you should always defer to them.
One important concept for any driver of a construction vehicle, or even construction workers operating in active zones: Because you do not have the legal right of way, it is not your place to insist that other drivers stop or yield. If you come across a situation where another driver doesn’t seem to be yielding to you, do not force the issue; instead, back off and let them go. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and getting into an accident because you were insistent on getting the right of way is not worth it.
Role of LED Lights
Even in situations like these where you do not have legal right of way, courtesy and good driving habits should always be your top priority. With that in mind, many construction vehicles are often now equipped with LED lights to help make them more visible to other drivers. In most cases, these lights will be placed on the front and back of the vehicle; however, they can also be placed on the sides, depending on the make and model.
If you’re a construction worker, then having LED lights on your vehicle can help to make sure that you’re seen by other drivers, even in low-light conditions. In many cases, these lights will be automatically activated when the engine is started; however, some models may require you to turn them on manually.
In addition, lights used on construction sites and vehicles will often flash intermittently, as this helps to grab the attention of drivers who may not be paying attention. If you’re a construction worker, then you should make sure that your lights are set to flash whenever you’re working; if you’re driving through an active construction zone, then you should be on the lookout for flashing lights, as they could signal a need to take extra precaution.
For more on this topic, or to learn about any of our other products or services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at LED Equipped at your nearest convenience!