Over the years, we’ve seen many campaigns launched across the state of Washington, and on the national level as well, to raise awareness of risk factors while driving, and improve driver safety. Yet recent data continues to show that driving practices here in King County need to be improved. Data for 2019 from the Washington State Department of Transportation indicates that nearly a third of all crashes in the state are reported from King County. So how can you start practicing better safety? Here are five key areas.
While drivers may blame vehicle failure for accidents, modern safety standards have greatly reduced the number of accidents for which equipment failure may be considered accountable. Instead, improper maintenance of your vehicle is more likely to result in accidents. Worn out tires, brakes, steering, and suspension systems can be detected and replaced with regular inspections.
Drive in good conditions
Unless necessary, avoid driving when inclement weather is adding to the level of risk on the road. Snow and rain can alter the road surface and make it tricky to brake to a full stop, or perform ordinary maneuvers. Precipitation and fog can also reduce visibility and increase your risk exposure.
‘Good conditions’ can apply to you as well as to the environment. You should be in good shape for driving. Never drive when fatigued or after consuming alcohol. If you must go on the road in poor physical condition, use public transportation, or ride-sharing services.
Observe speed limits
Speeding was the fourth-highest factor involved in traffic fatalities in Washington, according to 2018 data. The three factors ranked above were all related to alcohol or substance abuse. Going over the speed limit isn’t just against the law; doing so exponentially increases the risk of accident and the degree of severity of the outcome for all involved. If you travel under the limit and maintain a safe braking distance, you’ll have sufficient response time to slow down and reach a complete stop.
Be wary of road hazards
Some roads can present a greater level of risk than others. For instance, the one-way traffic on interstate highways makes them naturally safer on average than two-lane rural roads, where overtaking leads to a lot of head-on collisions. Intersections can be dangerous as well; one stretch of Highway 99 accounted for 3 out of 7 fatal crashes in Everett in all of 2019.
Road engineers have implemented various features to improve road safety. Warning signs, rumble strips, concrete barriers, and guard rails should all alert you to various road hazards. Pay attention, and you won’t have to ring up your auto accident lawyer in Everett for help.
Distracted driving came up right next to speeding among the top factors related to vehicle fatalities in the state of Washington. Even with the implementation of the E-DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Electronics) Law, a 2018 survey by the King County Target Zero Task Force indicates that many drivers are either unaware of the restrictions placed on texting, calling, or use of the phone’s features while driving; or else simply disregard the rules because of the belief that they aren’t likely to get in an accident.
Make it part of your behavior when driving to put away your phone, just as you always fasten your seatbelt – and keep it away. That’s the simplest way to avoid distractions while driving.
Many variables play a part in contributing to automobile accidents. However, driver behavior is what ties everything together and amplifies the overall risk. Drive safely to avoid accidents here in King County and beyond.