Last Wednesday, September 6th an accident involving a driver left two people seriously injured and created a six mile traffic backup on Interstate 5 south of SeaTac airport. Police reported an SUV rear ended a van after making multiple aggressive lane changes, resulting in a collision that sent both vehicles rolling into the ditch off the main freeway and left the driver and passenger of the van trapped inside with multiple broken bones. Police later confirmed the driver of the SUV was intoxicated.
These types of incidents are sadly both common and avoidable. Sometimes your safety may depend on noticing the behavior of drivers around you and avoiding careless and intoxicated drivers where possible. Here are some signs to look out for and helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of a careless driver:
First, be aware of your surroundings while behind the wheel and keep an eye out for erratic or dangerous behavior from the vehicles around you. Drivers travelling the wrong way down a one way street or in the wrong lane might be the most obvious and are among the most dangerous. Also be aware of drivers that are driving well in excess of the posted speed limit, especially if they appear to be racing other vehicles. Driving in the dark without headlights on, following too closely, swerving erratically, ignoring posted signage, making hazardous lane changes or failing to signal are also all clear indicators. Any of these can show a potential hazard, and simply noticing them can drastically improve your own safety.
Second, take whatever steps are possible to distance yourself from these drivers. If a driver is following you at an unsafe distance, try pulling over and letting them pass. When the dangerous behavior is extreme, it may even be beneficial to get off the road entirely and report the vehicle to the police.
Third, take care to avoid becoming an unsafe driver yourself. Caught up in the frantic rush of modern life, it’s easy to fall into dangerous patterns. Try to take stock of your own behaviors. Are you prone to driving well above the speed limit because you are in a hurry? Are you tempted to take a call while on the road, or to drive yourself home after a few drinks? Are you driving while you are exhausted? Any of these can easily lead you to become part of the problem.
Remember, careless drivers aren’t just endangering themselves but everyone else on the roadway as well. Hopefully these tips can help keep you out of harm’s way, and together we can all do our part to make the road a safer place.
Ken Selander is a personal injury and wrongful death attorney in the Seattle area, who represents victims of accidents caused by careless and negligent drivers. If you were injured or suffered the death of a family member due to a negligent or intoxicated driver, please contact Ken today at 206.723.8200 for a free case review and consultation.