Nearly 80,000 miles of roadways wind through Indiana. From well-traveled interstates to curving country roads, hardworking Hoosiers maintain this vital infrastructure connecting us. As we make record investments in infrastructure improvements and construction crews ramp up work this summer, we must all do our part to ensure those maintaining our roads and fellow motorists traveling through work zones are safe.

Last year alone, 14 people were killed and more than 650 were injured in Indiana Department of Transportation work zones. The most common causes are following too closely, unsafe lane movement, failure to yield right-of-way, running off the roadway, running over objects in the roadway, improper lane changes, driver inattention and unsafe speeds.

Many of these causes are based on human error. In an instant, a bad decision on the road can be fatal.

While encountering a work zone can be frustrating, construction crews are working hard to make the roads better for all of us. Remaining patient is vital to ensuring everyone makes it to their destination safely. According to INDOT, it takes just one minute more to travel through a two-mile work zone at 45 mph than 65 mph. With most fatal work zone crashes occurring on roads with speed limits greater than 50 mph, following posted speed limits is key to preventing deaths.

Driver inattention is also a concern on our roadways. Texting or talking on the phone significantly increases the chances of crashing. In fact, the leading cause of all crashes is distracted driving. Please put down the phone and keep your hands on the wheel at all times.

In Indiana, there are steep penalties for driving infractions within highway work zones, from a $300 fine for speeding, to a $10,000 fine and six years behind bars.

To help drivers prepare for their trips, INDOT offers real-time traffic conditions at pws.trafficwise.org. Camera images, reported crashes, work zones, traffic flow conditions and other helpful information is provided to assist travelers as they head out the door.

All drivers play a role in preventing crashes and deaths on our roads. Please prepare, remain patient, pay attention, respect posted speed limits, keep a safe distance from other vehicles, obey flaggers and adhere to signs. By following these guidelines, we can all arrive safety at our destinations.

State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) represents House District 67, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties, as well as portions of Decatur, Jennings, Jefferson and Dearborn counties.