Rick Carson, seated in center, is surrounded by his family.
My name is Rick Carson and I am the Equipment Operator
Specialist for the Syracuse Subarea office. I am coming up on my fifth year as
a KDOT employee, having served as Specialist since July 2017.
During my short tenure as a KDOT employee, I
have seen quite a few different circumstances that could have turned out very
bad. I learned from early on, that the best thing you can do to keep yourself
safe is to keep your head on a constant swivel.
One of the most unforgettable experiences
happened to me in the summer of 2019.We were patching holes on K-27 in the
south part of Syracuse. The stretch of roadway is a four-lane undivided
highway. The crew was working on the inside lane of the northbound lane. We had
set up our work zone prior to beginning work with all the proper signs, cones,
attenuator and a wedge diverting traffic into the right-hand lane.
At some point that morning, I was standing
along the center line, but still in the lane we were working in. There was some
debris that had rolled over the center line, and I was going to step over the
center line to sweep it back over into the hole. I was facing the north and
looked to make sure no traffic was coming.
I never turned to look south, because, there
shouldn’t have been any traffic coming from that way, because we had our wedge
set up pushing them right. WRONG! A truck coming from the south had crossed
over the double yellow line. It was traveling north in the southbound lane and
what was probably over the speed limit.
Luckily, one of my co-workers was looking that
way and was able to get my attention, and I was able to step out of the way.
Thinking about it later that day, the one word
that came to my mind was COMPLACENT. That day, at that particular time, I had
become complacent and overly comfortable with my surroundings.
To my fellow KDOT workers, I would just like to
remind you all that no matter what you are doing, always take the extra time to
look around and make sure that you are doing it carefully. And, always watch
out for your co-workers.
To the traveling public, KDOT does what they
do, to try and keep your family safe on the highways. So in your travels,
if/when you come up on any workers, anywhere, PLEASE, slow down, move over and
obey the signs. Drive like it is your family out there along the side of the
road. Because, we ARE somebody’s family.