Traffic Control: What Is a Flagger?

Traffic Control: What Is a Flagger?

Publish Date: March 17, 2023

Flagger Working Roadside Construction

Understanding flagger traffic control

Flaggers in Traffic Control are an integral part of road construction and maintenance work. Flaggers are trained professionals who control traffic flows around construction sites, accidents, or other situations requiring immediate (and sometimes long-term) changes in traffic patterns. They use a variety of hand signals, signs, and other channelization devices to manage traffic and ensure worker and driver safety.

Why is the flagger so important in traffic control?

The Flagger position is critical to maintaining safety for everyone involved in road construction and maintenance work. Flaggers smooth the flow of traffic around work zones, reducing the risk of accidents and minimizing traffic congestion. Without proper traffic control, the risk of accidents and injuries is greatly increased, making flags an integral part of road construction & accident management. There is the added benefit of human awareness & being able to make decisions on the fly, and drivers on the road are also less likely to ignore a human giving important signage or instructions versus something like stationary warning signs.

How does someone become a flagger?

Flagging requires special training and certification. Flagger certification programs provide the skills and knowledge needed to control traffic effectively & safely. Training covers topics such as traffic laws, safety procedures, marking techniques, and proper use of equipment. Once certified, a flagger can work for construction companies, government agencies, or private contractors. UTB is a certified ATSSA training partner and trains not only their own employees but any company desiring to have their employees understand the importance of proper traffic control.

Flagger Equipment and Techniques

A flagger will use various devices and techniques to effectively direct traffic. They use handheld signs with standard traffic control messages, cones, flags, and other signaling channelization devices to direct traffic. They may also use radios to communicate with other workers, facilitating immediate responses and changes to evolving situations. Many traffic control flaggers will also set up devices such as traffic lights and barriers.


In summary, The flagger position in traffic control is an integral part of road construction and maintenance work. It is very important to ensure the safety of workers and drivers, without which the risk of accidents and injuries is greatly increased. Becoming a flagger requires special training and certification, and flaggers use a variety of devices and techniques to direct traffic effectively. Still, one of the most important things they offer – is human awareness, decision-making, & authority.

We hope this guide was informative and helpful in understanding this extremely important position.

UTB Protection offers services that oftentimes will include one or multiple flaggers to help ensure your job goes smoothly. We can help create a custom plan for your work area. Feel free to contact us and ask questions. We are always happy to discuss how we can potentially help with your unique situation!