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NMDOT Introduces Work Zone Safety Mascot “Zippy” the Roadrunner

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is excited to introduce the newest member of the NMDOT team, “Zippy” the roadrunner mascot!  Zippy is dedicated to promoting work zone safety across the State of New Mexico, and will raise awareness around work zone safety, educate drivers, and share messages about the importance of staying safe in work zones.

Zippy’s introduction coincides with the start of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) on April 15, and the roadrunner educator will be sharing safety messages for the next several months. Zippy will be featured on NMDOT social media and through a variety of other communication channels.

As part of the launch of the Zippy campaign, NMDOT staff from District 1, District 3, District 4, and District 6 created roadrunners out of orange construction zone barrels.  These roadrunners are placed in front of the NMDOT district buildings as an added tool to help raise awareness about work zone safety across the state.

“Work zone safety is a priority for NMDOT and the launch of our own safety mascot, Zippy, is just one of a variety of tools we’re using to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving practices in work zones.” said Transportation Secretary Ricky Serna.

Beep beep! Hey there, speedy travelers!

Zippy the Roadrunner here, zooming in with some important work zone safety tips to follow to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.

Zippy’s Top Tips to be Work-Zone Safe:

    • Slow down! Speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes.
    • Expect the unexpected! Detours, traffic control measures, speed reductions and lane configuration changes are all common in work zones. Make sure you read all signage and watch the road ahead of you to avoid surprises.
    • Don’t tailgate! Make sure there is enough distance between you and the car(s) ahead of you that you can stop without running into another vehicle or swerving off of the road in the event of a crash or sudden stoppage.
    • Stay alert and put down your sandwich! Focus on your driving and minimize distractions like phones, loud music, and snacking while traveling through work zones.
    • Plan ahead! Work zones can mean delays and longer travel times. Make sure you leave early enough to get to your destination on time when you know you’ll be going through a work zone. You can check to find more info about construction projects in your area and plan accordingly!

  • Be a zipper merge pro! A zipper merge occurs when motorists use both lanes of traffic until reaching the defined merge area, and then alternate in “zipper” fashion into the open lane.
  • Watch the weather! Rain, snow and other inclement weather conditions can reduce visibility in work zones and increase stopping times.
  • Turn on your lights! Your headlights don’t just help you see the road ahead – they also help other motorists and road users see your vehicle. Turning on your lights is critical in inclement weather and from dusk to dawn, and can add another layer of safety even in broad daylight. But, save the hazards for emergencies only!

Bonus tip: Be patient! Work zones can be frustrating, but repairs and construction are critical to maintaining and improving our state’s roads. Take a deep breath and remember that by driving safely, you can help make sure the work zone remains a minor inconvenience and doesn’t turn into the site of a tragedy.

Remember, safety is no joke! So, let’s slow down, stay alert, and ensure our hard working construction crews get home safely. Beep beep!

REMEMBER for a safer and smoother traffic flow Use Zippy's Zipper Merge technique

Zippy the Roadrunner Coloring Sheets

Orange Barrel Roadrunners

District 1

Created by Larry Arnold and Spencer Torres (Deming Patrol)

District 3

Created by Chris Matson, Steven Salazar, Louie Serna, James Julian, Mateo Madrid & Anthony Maestas

District 4

* his tail is motorized to move*

Created by Anthony Martinez, Abel Gonzales, David Gonzales, Michael Gutierrez, And Larry Saiz

District 6

Created by Manuel Lucero, James Casaus, Gabriel Lucero, Mitchell Gurule, Cole Reynolds, Ira Sandoval, Joseph Pacheco, Randy Trujillo, Ricky Bahe, Pedro Rendon-Olivo (Cuba Patrol)

General Office

Created by Aaron Turner, Adam Trujillo, Miguel Sanchez, Jordan Jaramillo, Abraham Herrera and Isaac Griego

National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW)

is held each spring as road construction projects ramp up with warmer weather. The goal is to remind drivers to pay attention as they approach and navigate through work zones so both motorists and roadway workers remain safe. This year’s NWZAW will take place from Monday, April 15 through Friday, April 19.

As part of NWZAW, Go Orange Day will take place on Wednesday, April 17. Wear orange on April 17 to show support for the men and women who work tirelessly to keep the nation’s roads in top condition and for the families who have lost loved ones in work zone crashes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (NHTSA FARS) data, 891 people died in work zones in 2022, including 742 drivers and their passengers. Also in 2022, 94 highway worker occupational fatalities occurred in road construction sites according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. These statistics emphasize the importance of drivers slowing down and staying focused while approaching and passing through a roadway work zone.

In support of National Work Zone Awareness Week, NMDOT District One and TxDOT will co-host a press conference at the New Mexico / Texas state line on Monday, April 15.