County Officials Remind Drivers to Stay Safe this construction season

Tom Janke, Fond du Lac County Highway Commissioner wants to remind everyone that highway construction has started throughout the county and the State of Wisconsin. Please drive carefully on our highways and pay particular attention in highway work zones throughout the 2024 construction season.

“Buckle up, put your phone away and pay attention,” said Commissioner Janke. “Highway workers, emergency response and business who service both the highways and the traveling public, work very hard on keeping our highways operating, and just like you, they want to make it home at night to their families.”

Over the past five years, there have been more than 11,000 crashes in Wisconsin work zones causing 63 deaths and more than 4,300 injuries.

In Wisconsin, work zones include major highway construction and rehabilitation, maintenance, emergency response, utility work, municipal projects and more – any time in which there are flashing lights, signs, barrels or workers on the road.

National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week takes place April 15th through 19th. This year’s theme is Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever.

Wednesday, April 17, is “Go Orange Day,” in which people are asked to wear something orange in support of highway safety. Social media pictures and posts are welcome using the #NWZAW and #Orange4Safety hashtag, but please always refrain from using electronics while driving.

Work Zone Safety Awareness Week is sponsored by federal, state and local transportation officials to draw attention to the safety needs of road workers during construction season but it is all year round. Generally, crashes occur when drivers speed through a work zone, do not pay attention to changing road conditions, run into other vehicles or highway equipment or drive off the road completely.

“We ask everyone on the road to eliminate distractions and be mindful of speed,”

Said Commissioner Janke. “Even in areas with reduced speed limits, things can happen in an instant. Always expect the unexpected.”

While typical construction work zones are prevalent throughout the county and state, there are also significant numbers of maintenance operations that may be short-term or moving operations. Drivers are reminded of the state’s, Move Over Law, which requires drivers to shift lanes or slow-down in order to provide a safety buffer for a squad car, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck, utility vehicle, or highway maintenance vehicle that is stopped on the side of a road with its warning lights flashing. Further, Wisconsin also most recently passed law to prohibit the use of handheld cell phones within a work zone. It is illegal to talk on a handheld mobile device while driving in a Wisconsin road work zone. As stated by Commissioner Janke, “When you see an orange cone, put down your phone.”

Before hitting the road, drivers are encouraged to check 511 Wisconsin ( and @511WI on X formally Twitter), or use the 511 Wisconsin smartphone app for updates on road conditions and traffic flow but again only do so while not driving.

Giving undivided attention to the road:

· Don’t fool around. Eliminate distractions like eating, drinking, talking on the phone, or fiddling with electronic devices.

· Expect the unexpected. Speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people and vehicles may be working on or near the road.

· Slow down. A car traveling 60 mph travels 88 feet per second, and the faster you go, the longer it takes to stop.

· Give yourself room. Rear-end collisions are the most common work zone crashes, so don’t tailgate.

· Allow about three seconds of braking distance. Look for signs. Orange, diamond-shaped signs usually give you ample warning of lane closings, construction areas, and flaggers and other workers ahead.

· Be patient. If you don’t see workers, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Observe the signs until you see one that says you’ve left the work zone.

· Plan ahead. Leave early or map out an alternate route. Find the latest road conditions and work zone news at 511 Wisconsin.

· Follow the law. Slow down and move over, if possible, when you see flashing lights.

· Consider turning off the phone until you reach your destination.

· During a long drive, consider leaving a voice mail explaining how long you’ll be unavailable.

· If you have to make a call, find a secure place to pull over and stop, such as a wayside or a gas station.

· Don’t use hand held cell phone in a work zone. It is now against the law.

For more information on how to navigate through a work zone see Fond du Lac County Highway Department’s YouTube channel video, Work Zone Safety-“Drive Like You Work Here.” At This video geared toward first time drivers but is an excellent refresher for any driver.

Also, learn more at: