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Have a Safe and Fun Fourth of July Weekend!

Riding on Alki Beach. Photo: SDOT 

Independence Day is just around the corner! As we prepare for a more normal Fourth of July celebration this year, it’s important for Seattleites to keep safety in mind so they can enjoy the holiday weekend with family and friends and prevent any crashes. 

Around the Fourth, many people head to the parks or attend a friend’s barbecue to celebrate. Now, with states opening back up around the country, people are getting out of town and traveling the roadways to spend time with friends and loved ones.  

We want to remind everyone that you can make decisions to keep others and yourself safe on the road. Most crashes are preventable. We’re asking everyone to do their part to ensure you and your loved ones get to your destinations safely.  

We believe everyone should be able to move safely whether you are staying in the city or heading out of town. 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 help play a role in keeping you, your family and community safe too.  Here are some reminders on how to travel safely: 

Drive sober.  

Having a drink at a friend’s barbecue? If so, 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, or find a designated driver.  

A bus driving by an American flag. Photo: SDOT 

Year after 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. 

Usually around the Fourth of July, a lot of people plan to head out of town for the 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 you’re the back that you planned for this, and enjoy the ride. 

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:  

  • It makes crashes less likely to occur in the first place.   
  • 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. Remember: slower speeds save lives.   

SDOT crews install a 25 mph speed limit sign. Photo: SDOT 

Keep your eyes on the road. 

Before you start driving, get set up. Adjust your mirrors and seat to your liking and put your destination into your GPS or map app if you need help navigating your route.  

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) and 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.    

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.   

Use caution in work zones. Photo: SDOT 

Stop for people walking, rolling, and biking.  

Unless there are signs that state otherwise, every intersection is a legal pedestrian 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.   

Starting 4th of July weekend, 3 miles of Lake Washington Blvd (from Mt Baker Park to Seward Park) will open to people walking, rolling, and biking on weekends and holidays through at least September. 

People biking on the Lake Washington Blvd Stay Healthy Street. Photo: SDOT 

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 on city streets by 2030. As you gather with friends and family, please continue to follow Public Health Seattle and King County COVID-19 guidelines.   

A child and adult cross the street. Photo: SDOT 

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 for everyone.     

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