Washington state should be a great place for driving – stunning scenery, such as woodlands and mountains, all make for a unique and potentially pleasurable driving experience. However, getting into a car accident in Washington state is a real, serious problem.
Reports show that Washington state drivers are actually among the most at danger to be involved in a car accident. They recently ranked 5th worst in a list topped by California.
But what actually causes all this mayhem?
Read on for 7 possible ways to get into a car accident in Washington.
1. Drunk Driving
Let’s start with a serious one.
2017 saw a rise from the previous year of DUI related traffic deaths in Washington state – in fact, a shocking 11% increase. And this is while the stats are actually improving in the rest of the country.
People who have been drinking are just far more likely to get into serious collisions that those who have not. With 178 fatalities occurring in 2017, the lesson is clear – don’t even think about getting behind the wheel if you’ve had a drink.
2. Drug Driving
Washington is also known for its legalization of marijuana. However, accidents involving drivers impaired by more than one drug actually accounted for the highest number of fatalities on Washington roads between 2008-2016.
Sadly some drivers try to counteract the effects of drugs such as alcohol by taking other drugs, including marijuana. Some may even mistakenly believe that they are better drivers while high.
The lesson is clear – drugs and driving do not mix.
3. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is defined as driving while engaged in another activity. Typically these days, that involves using a cell phone or other electronic devices, such as GPS systems or tablets.
This type of driving is a major cause of recent car accidents in Washington state.
A recent survey by the AAA indicated that distracted driving is drivers’ number 1 concern on the roads – with 88% feeling it’s the biggest danger today.
In Washington, what do the stats show?
In recent years, the number of fatalities from distracted driving accidents have risen sharply. It’s such a serious concern that the Washington Traffic Safety Commission has a goal known as Target Zero – to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Washington to zero by 2030.
This ties in with tough new laws introduced in 2017 which have clamped down on drivers using handheld devices while driving, even at traffic lights and stop signs.
With cell phone use increasing your risk of crashes by 300%, it’s not surprising eliminating this is a top priority for law enforcers.
The latest Washington State stats show that a speeding driver was involved in a crash every 27 minutes.
Speeding is not only implicated in a high number of fatal accidents but also causes countless serious and minor injuries and millions of dollars worth of damage to property.
The key is simple – even if the road’s clear, remember the speed limit. It’s not a buzzkill, it’s there to protect you and everyone else from the lethal weapon you’re sat in.
5. Icy Conditions
Weather conditions in Washington can get pretty extreme in the winter.
Many parts of the state experience average lows of 36°F and precipitation levels notoriously high, the chances are you’re going to get icy days on the roads most years.
Snowy conditions can also make roads very slippery and dramatically reduce visibility. Add in our famous high rainfall, and you’ve got a recipe for car accidents.
The key to keeping control of the vehicle? Drive slowly and carefully, in as high a gear as you can. Brake and accelerate gently. Gently brake in a safe place to test the road surface. Take corners carefully.
6. Wild Animals
In many parts of the country, animal hazards on the roads are nothing more than the occasional fox or cat.
Not in Washington. Get out of town, and it won’t be long before you run the risk of encountering something big – big enough to cause a serious car accident.
The main risk is deer. They’re implicated in hundreds of accidents and many fatalities each year. The key is to keep a keen lookout.
Take note of any signs indicating the presence of deer in an area. They’re not there for decoration. Where there’s one deer, there’s likely to be more. Keep checking the sides of the road for any that may roam into your vehicle’s path.
The sad fact is that if you do encounter a deer ahead and can’t brake in time, the advice is to hit it. Doing this will be safer than swerving, which will endanger the lives of you, your passengers and other road users.
7. Failure to Yield
Our final word is for something that comes down to driving courtesy. Failing to yield the right of way to another vehicle is actually one of the easiest ways to get into a car accident in Washingtontoday.
Failing to yield to traffic on the right results in collisions with other vehicles, bikes and sadly pedestrians. The latest stats show that these accounted for almost 19,000 accidents in one year alone. This included 34 fatalities.
Avoid These Likely Ways to Get in a Car Accident in Washington State
Clearly, we’ve got a long way to go to make Washington State a safe and fun place to go out for a drive.
But many of the ways to get into a car accident in Washington State that we’ve looked at are easily preventable. Staying away from drink and drugs, taking some simple precautions against the weather and wildlife are two good options.
Also, if you find yourself puzzled about what to do at an intersection, always remember to yield to vehicles already in the intersection you are approaching.
If you have found yourself in a Washington car collision, then make sure you’ve got an experienced team of lawyers backing you up.
Click here to see how Sweet Lawyers can help you today. Or call us at (800) 674-7854 for a free consolation.