Speed a Factor in Many Washington State Car Accidents

Experts warn that you should proceed with extreme care if you must pull over on a highway. Two teens were injured recently in the median of Interstate 82, about three miles west of Benton City, Wash., when they were struck by a passing SUV, according to a report by the Yakima Herald.

Just before the accident, the 17-year-old driver had driven her Nissan onto the median and her 18-year-old passenger had gotten out of the car, for reasons that weren’t immediately clear to investigators. Both the passenger and the Nissan were struck.

The Washington State Patrol blamed driving too fast for conditions for the accident. That is not unusual. Figures released by the Washington State Department of Transportation tell us that speed is a contributing factor in more than 20 percent of all auto collisions in the State of Washington. In 2010, speed played a role in 23,082 collisions throughout the state.

Not surprisingly, the percentage of accidents blamed on speed increases during November, December, January and February as drivers fail to factor in road and weather conditions. Posted speed limits are intended to provide drivers with a maximum allowable speed under ideal conditions.

When weather conditions such as fog or rain make visibility difficult, or road conditions such as ice or snow threaten a driver’s ability to maneuver and control a vehicle, then drivers are legally required to adjust their speed accordingly. A driver who fails to do this may be cited for driving too fast for road conditions. If the driver causes a collision, he or she may be found negligent, or at fault, and required to pay compensation to anyone who is hurt in the accident.