Kids going back to school, but parents still home means driving rules reminders make sense
By Patrick Robinson
As the pandemic eases, and children begin returning to the classroom, the time of the wild west for drivers deserves some serious rethinking. The "working from home" practice that has been a hallmark of the past year means people are cooped up, but still need to get out to the store or for a meal and often that's a time when people feel the need to take out their aggressions on the road.
Reports on social media about "crazy drivers" are common and since we live in a city with an enormous number of uncontrolled intersections, adding kids to the mix could be even more dangerous. Remember, it's a 3500 to 4000 pound object with 147 square inches of contact with the road traveling between 25 miles per hour (the Seattle speed limit on most streets) and up to 60 (which let's be honest, most people fudge on by 5 to 10 miles per hour frequently). Stopping, and avoiding other cars and pedestrians is not what most cars are really best at, and neither are you. 40% of all car accidents happen at intersections according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
One of the most widely misunderstood and ignored rules is when and where to yield.
Here's what the Revised Code of Washington says about it:
Vehicle approaching intersection—Vulnerable users of a public way—Fine.
"When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right."
You are being delayed, yes, but only a few seconds. It's just common sense that you drive a bit more slowly, and show some courtesy. You simply do not know if kids, or pedestrians, or pets are going to cross in front of you.
So here's the short and sweet of it.
Drive attentively (Have you ever honked at someone at a red light as they stared at their phone? Don't be that person)
Watch out for pedestrians, cyclists, and again now, children
Yield to your right at uncontrolled intersections.
You'll get there. Arriving 60 seconds sooner won't change your life. But killing or injuring someone or being involved in an accident will cost you a lot more than being a couple minutes late.