Ah, Memorial Day weekend. Three days of long-awaited travel, the outdoors and reveling in the return of sunshine. This unofficial start of summer, as Memorial Day is often deemed, also marks an especially notorious stretch of 100 days on Washington’s roadways that spans Independence Day and Labor Day weekend.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s 2012 Collision Summary, significantly more collisions occur during these 100 days than other times of the year. This happens for a variety of reasons, including more impaired drivers on the roads. Men and women ages 25 to 34 are most likely to be involved in collisions during this period.
The good news is that 90 percent of all crashes—involving pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles—can be prevented by practicing safer habits.
As this 100-day stretch draws near, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reminds travelers to Be Super Safe on our streets.
FIVE TIPS FOR SAFER SUMMER TRAVEL
Plan Ahead if You Plan to Drink
Help keep our streets safe by not driving while under the influence of alcohol, which remains the single biggest contributing factor to traffic fatalities, nor driving while under the influence of marijuana. If your plans include some partying, be sure to make your transportation plans before you have that first summer ale. Take a cab or a bus, choose a designated driver, or sleep it off at a friend’s house. Just don’t get behind the wheel.
Focus on the Road
Another no-no is distracted driving. Distractions can include texting and driving, eating, rearranging wind-blown hair or changing the radio station. Distracted driving is the second-leading contributing cause of collisions in Seattle. More than 1,000 crashes are caused by inattention every year—crashes that are completely preventable.
Plan your trip and allow enough time to get where you’re going. Speeding—which contributes to nearly 4,000 collisions annually in Seattle—and aggressive driving continually cause trouble on the streets. Slow down and enjoy the sunshine!
Stop for Pedestrians
“Did not grant right-of-way” to pedestrians is the most commonly cited factor for pedestrian collisions year after year in Seattle. No one has a super hero’s ability to quickly negate the force of a large, fast-moving vehicle. Please remember that every intersection is a legal crosswalk even if there are no crosswalk markings. Always stop for pedestrians.
Pedestrians, Keep a Lookout
As pedestrians, we should never assume that we are safe just because we are crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. In fact, most pedestrian-involved collisions occur in marked crosswalks. Save that phone call for later, look before you cross and keep looking as you cross the street. Wear bright or light-colored clothing or reflective gear in the evening time and early morning so drivers can spot you.
Remember—We’re All in This Together
It’s important to remind ourselves that we are sharing the road with fellow Seattleites who also just want to get to their destination safely.
Let’s look out for each other.