Everyone else's driving

By Brad Reeh
Work zones are there to protect the workers and the motorists. When we are out working on the road, we depend on our work zones to keep the motorists and KDOT employees safe. With all the technology that we have in the vehicle like cell phones, GPS and other gadgets, many motorists are not paying attention to what is going on in front of them.

It was the summer of 2012, shortly after I became the Supervisor in Colby – a 95 degree day and we were doing some patching on Highway 25. We had all the equipment needed and all the traffic control signs out that were needed at the time. We were half-way done with the job and I sent an employee to get some more material so we could finish the patching. I went to relieve one of the flagmen and to give him a break because he had been flagging most of the day. I was flagging for about 20 minutes, enjoying the day, when I had a motorist stop. The motorist got out of his truck, which was hauling batteries, and asked how long the wait was. I informed him it would only be a few minutes or so.
The driver got back in his truck and put his seat belt on while he waited to be released. I noticed a bull hauler coming up from behind him at a high rate of speed. It was like he did not see the truck. I waved my arms to get his attention, and as he looked up, it was too late. The bull hauler turned to the ditch, and as he was turning he hit the back of the truck that was stopped.

After it was over, I radioed the other flagger to hold all traffic because there was an accident that had occurred. I call 911 and had another employee come to relieve me so that I could check on the driver of the battery truck. I then also checked on the bull hauler driver and both were fine. I asked the driver of the bull hauler if he had not seen the traffic control signs and to my surprise, he said that he had not.
Later on, after the Highway Patrol was finished with the accident, one of the patrolmen came up to me and said the bull hauler was not paying attention. This could have been a lot worse, not only for the truck driver, but also for everyone in the area.

Like I tell my kids, it’s not your driving I worry about, it’s everyone else’s driving that worries me.

Brad Reeh is the KDOT Subarea Supervisor in Colby


  1. Anonymous3/23/2015

    That's so scary, a lot of people could have been hurt, or even killed. People need to pay attention in work zones.

  2. Lisa Mussman3/23/2015

    I hope everyone takes time today to stop and read this. I know I'm guilty of paying more attention to my devices than the road sometimes I don't think we ever really stop and think what might happen and this really brings the point home that we need to pay more attention to our surroundings! Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Wow -- that crash could have been so much worse. Thank goodness it wasn't.

    Over the years, I've heard of quite a few of these accidents at KDOT maintenance work zones and those at contractor's projects too. It seems like there are plenty of orange signs, lots of activity and plenty of other signs that the roadway is not open as normal -- yet we still witness these bad events.

    Pay attention to your driving -- and hope everyone else does too!

  4. Anonymous3/24/2015

    Too often we as people seem to just space out while driving until something jerks us out of this state, sometimes with tragic results. I agree with what you told your kids about not being as concerned about their driving as the other driver's. Even with the best of intentions and being safety aware it only takes a second and one's world can change forever