A car accident can be devastating to the victims and families involved. Vehicle repair and medical bills are the best-case scenarios that you can hope for after an accident. Trauma, death, or causing the death of another person are examples of the worst possible outcomes. Fortunately, car accidents rarely happen for no reason. More often than not, they are caused by the reckless behavior of one or both drivers. By avoiding these behaviors, you have a better chance of avoiding accidents entirely. Here are some factors that may increase your risk of a car accident in Seattle.
It’s Not The Rain
Washington is a notoriously rainy state. That’s why we have the best rainy season fashions and tons of artisan coffee shops to keep us warm. But does the rain affect the number of car crashes we experience per year? The answer, sort of surprisingly, is no. For years, organizations and experts have attempted to determine the most dangerous states to drive in, and Washington is never very high on that list. Unfortunately, since it’s not the weather, that means most car accidents are caused by people’s reckless behavior. Reckless behavior such as:
Washington State has done much to combat alcohol and drug-related car accidents for decades, yet it remains the highest cause of fatalities. According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Annual Report, between 2015 and 2017, there were roughly 1,650 deaths from car accidents. More than half of those (58%) were due to impaired driving.
A quarter of those deaths are due to poly-drug use. Poly-drug use is when multiple drugs are combined. Poly-drug impaired driving has steadily increased by 15 percent in Washington for at least the last five years. Most of these deaths are attributed to a combination of alcohol and cannabis.
In 2020 and 2021, impaired driving fatalities in Washington State reached a 15-year high. An abnormal increase given that fewer cars were on the roads due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems that the increased isolation contributed to an increase in drug and alcohol abuse, which, unfortunately, led to more impaired drivers on the road. Impaired driving is the highest cause of fatal car accidents in Washington State, and it is entirely preventable. This is truly a sad statistic that leads to untold numbers of trauma and grief.
Another preventable cause of car accidents in Washington is speeding. Although the rainy weather may not statistically increase the number of accidents in our state, speeding in rainy weather is undoubtedly a cause. Lowering your speed during inclement weather can save your life and the lives of others. In congested urban areas, like those found in Seattle, speeding can be particularly dangerous to drivers and pedestrians alike. In 2021, 150 people were killed, 437 were significantly injured, and 6,235 sustained minor injuries in Seattle alone.
We all know that using our phones while driving is a dangerous idea. Adjusting the music or answering a call while operating your vehicle can lead to disastrous results. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous, which is why Washington became the first state to ban texting and driving in 2007. Since then, 47 other states have passed similar laws. Texting and driving is only legal in Montana and Missouri, and in Missouri, it is still illegal if you are under 21. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, nearly half of all accidents in Washington are at least partially due to distracted driving. This is another heartbreaking statistic because of how preventable it is. By waiting to return a text or pulling over to receive a call, you could save your life or the life of someone else.
Failure To Obey Traffic Laws
The next most common reason you may be in a car accident in Washington is you or another driver is either ignoring or not understanding basic traffic laws. Intersections, in particular, are hotbeds for accidents as many drivers do not know or do not care who has the right-of-way. Improperly yielding or merging is another guaranteed way to cause an accident. You can’t control what other drivers do on the road, but you can remain ever-vigilant while driving. Furthermore, you can refresh yourself on any traffic laws in Washington by revisiting the Washington Driver’s Guide on the Department of Licensing’s website.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. Knowing the laws and respecting the other drivers on the road by remaining sober, undistracted, and vigilant can save your life or the life of someone else. If you have been in a car accident in or around Seattle, reach out to the experts at NBF Accident Law at (206) 923-8888.