Have you ever been sitting in your car during the morning commute, stuck because everyone is gawking at an accident scene and thought to yourself, “the drivers in Seattle are horrible?” As a Seattle car accident attorney, I hear about hundreds of Seattle auto accidents every year and I always hear people say that Seattle drivers are among the worst. Well, as it turns out, all those naysayers were right.

For the past seven years Allstate has been ranking drivers in large cities around the U.S. in their “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report,” and this year Seattle ranked 147 out of 193. Surprisingly, this is actually the second lowest Seattle has ever ranked, meaning that as bad as the drivers are they are slowly getting better. Allstate bases their data on the frequency of auto accidents and Seattle drivers are 25% more likely to get into an auto accident compared with the national average. But the bad driving skills aren’t specific to Seattle drivers, Bellevue and Tacoma also ranked 145 and 141, respectively.

According to the report the average driver in each of those three cities can expect to be involved in an auto accident every eight years, compared with Fort Collins CO. where they have the best driving record, drivers there have about 14 years in between car accidents.

So what does this report mean for drivers in Western Washington? It means that our driving skills are in need of serious improvement. It is up to every driver to be responsible while on the road, this means no more using your cell phone, being on the lookout for motorcycles and just being aware of your general surroundings. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although traffic accidents have been on a downward slope fatalities are still more than 32,000 every year in the U.S. and human behavior is the cause of most of those accidents. Drunk driving and distracted driving are serious problems in Washington State and throughout the nation as a whole and though our Washington State police forces do their best to stop every reckless driver, they can only do so much; the rest is up to us.

As a Seattle personal injury lawyer I hope that Western Washington residents see this report and make a conscious effort to improve their driving habits. Here are a few tips that everyone should follow to help make Seattle a safer city to drive in:

  • Minimize distractions – this includes using your cell phone, text messaging, putting on makeup, changing the radio station, eating, etc.
  • Be aware of road conditions – things like ice, snow, fog and rain require extra caution and slower speeds
  • Don’t follow so closely – leave a safe distance between your car and every other car around you, and maintain at least one car length space between your car and the vehicle in front of you for every 10 miles of speed.
  • Keep you cool – road rage has been the cause of numerous accidents this year. Reduce your stress on the roadway by allowing yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and if a driver is being aggressive towards you don’t challenge them, do what you can to get as far away from them as possible.
  • Maintain your vehicle – The easiest way to stay safe on the road is to properly maintain your vehicle. Make sure that your brakes, exhaust system, tires, lights, battery and hoses are all in good working order at all times.

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