Have you seen the forecast for this weekend? It’s actually happening – sunshine is here and it’s sticking around!
And it’s just in time for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. Three days of long-awaited travel, the outdoors, and reveling in the return of that yellow orb. This weekend also marks an especially notorious stretch of 100 days on Washington’s roadways that spans Independence Day and Labor Day weekend.
Significantly more collisions occur during these 100 days than other times of the year. This happens for a variety of reasons, including the potential for more impaired drivers on the roads. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) will conduct extra DUI patrols over the Memorial Day weekend and we’ll be supporting this effort by activating our network of dynamic message signs highlighting the additional patrols.
The good news is that 90% of all crashes—involving people walking, biking, and driving —can be prevented by practicing safer habits. As this 100-day stretch draws near, we want to remind everyone to travel smart on our streets over Memorial Day and throughout the summer. There are things each of us can do to help Seattle reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets.
Follow these simple tips for summer safety:
Plan Ahead if You Plan to Drink
Help keep our streets safe by not driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Impairment contributes to an average 500 crashes a year in Seattle, and 20% of fatal crashes. If your plans include some revelry, be sure to make your transportation plans before you have that first summer ale. Take a cab or a bus (more late night service is coming!), grab a Lyft or Uber, choose a designated driver, or sleep it off at a friend’s house. If you’re parked in a paid parking spot on the street, pre-purchase a couple hours for the next morning. Just don’t get behind the wheel.
Focus on the Road
Distracted driving is the second-leading contributing cause of collisions in Seattle. More than 3,000 crashes are caused by inattention every year—crashes that are completely preventable. Using your phone while driving is not just a bad idea, it’s also against the law. And coming July 23, 2017, a new distracted driving law takes effect across Washington. Don’t phone while driving.
Plan your trip to allow enough time to get where you’re going. Speeding and aggressive driving continually cause trouble on the streets, contributing to 20% of fatal crashes. Slow down and enjoy the sunshine! And remember, Seattle’s speed limits have changed – 25 MPH in Center City and 20 MPH on all neighborhood (non-arterial) streets.
Stop for Pedestrians
Pedestrians have the right-of-way at all legal crosswalks (and every intersection, marked or unmarked, is a legal crossing). More than 200 injury collisions are a result of failing to yield to people walking. Please remember to always stop for pedestrians.
Remember—We’re All in This Together
It’s important to remind ourselves that we are sharing the road with fellow Seattleites and visitors who also just want to get to their destination safely. Let’s look out for each other.
Learn more about Vision Zero at www.seattle.gov/visionzero.