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It’s Memorial Day weekend! Drive sober, slow down, & watch out for one another

No matter how you travel or what you do this Memorial Day Weekend, look out for each other and help Seattle reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Photo by Samantha Fernandes on Unsplash.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and that means we’re one step closer to SUMMER!  

Whether you’re getting out of town, headed to your favorite Seattle park, or going to a friend’s house for a BBQ, remember, you can make decisions to keep others and yourself safe. Most crashes are preventable. We’re asking everyone to do their part to ensure you and your loves ones get to your destinations safely. 

We believe everyone should be able to move safely throughout the City. Our goal is to create safe transportation environments and eliminate serious and fatal crashes in Seattle. 

While we focus on designing safer streets, you can play a role too.  Here’re some reminders on how to travel safely: 

Drive sober. 

Planning to enjoy a local craft brew in the sun? Please do so responsibly and don’t get in the driver’s seat of a car, motorcycle, or any vehicle. Make a plan to use transit, grab a cab or ride share, find a designated driver. 

Year over year, driving after consuming alcohol or other drugs is a top contributing factor to crashes in Seattle. Nationally, about a quarter of all traffic-related deaths involve someone driving under the influence of alcohol. 

Slow down. 

Give yourself enough time and plan ahead so you’re not in a hurry. Speed is the critical factor in the frequency and severity of crashes.  

When people driving slow down by just a few miles per hour, it has two main powerful effects: 

  • First, it makes crashes less likely to occur in the first place.  
  • And second, a person who is hit by a driver traveling at lower speeds is more likely to survive the incident.  

Learn why speed limits were lowered to 25 MPH on most major streets (the ones with yellow dividing lines) and 20 MPH on ALL residential streets. Hint: slower speeds save lives.  

Rumor has it, a lot of people are planning to hit the road and get out of town this long weekend. If you’re one of them, make sure you build in extra time to get to your destination. That way, if you do find yourself stuck in traffic, you can take a deep breath, pat yourself on your back that you planned for this, and enjoy the ride.  

Keep your eyes on the road. 

First and foremost, put your phone away before you start driving so you’re not tempted to respond to a text or scroll through social media at a red light. Use technology for good and turn on your phone’s “do not disturb setting” (it will sense when you are driving/moving in a vehicle and limit phone calls and text messages). 

Also before you go, adjust your mirrors and seat to your liking, know where you’re going, and set up your GPS or map app. 

Driving with others? Enlist your passengers to help navigate, check your phone, and pick the music!  

And remember, use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway on our roads.  

Stop for people walking or rolling. 

Unless otherwise signed, every intersection is a legal crossing, whether it’s marked or not. Look out at each intersection and come to a complete stop for people looking to cross. 

We have over 25 miles of Stay Healthy Streets that are open to people walking, rolling, and biking, and closed to pass through vehicle traffic. Please avoid driving on these streets or use extreme caution if your destination is on a Stay Healthy Street.  

Over Memorial Day weekend, we’ll open 1 mile of Lake Washington Blvd from Mt Baker Park to Genesee Park to people walking, rolling, and biking, and close it to people driving.   

People on bikes belong on the road too.   

Share the road with people riding bikes. Remember,  

  • People biking may legally use as much of the lane as they need for safety 
  • If passing someone biking, give at least three feet of passing space 
  • When turning, look for and yield to people biking 
  • When you’re leaving a parked car, always look around for people biking and other people driving and open doors slowly. Tip: before opening a car door on the traffic side, use your far hand to open the door – it’ll naturally shift you into a position to look for others (AKA the “Dutch Reach”).

Look out for each other.

Remember that no matter how people are getting around (whether by car, transit, on foot, wheelchair, or bike) we’re all people. We’re sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. Let’s look out for each other and help Seattle reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. As you gather with friends and family, please continue to follow Public Health Seattle and King County COVID-19 guidelines.  

As we’re asking you to help keep roads safe by watching out for one another, we’re also doing our part by continuing to improve the safety of our streets to prevent collisions and save lives.  

Let’s continue to work together to make our streets safe and to reach Seattle’s long-term Vision Zero goal of ending serious injuries and fatalities on city streets .    

City of Seattle offices will be closed this Monday. Enjoy your weekend!