The Woes of Seattle Traffic

Tim had always loved Seattle. Although he was not a native, he considered himself a native because he had lived in Seattle for so long. Originally from the Midwest, he had visited Seattle on a business trip and fell in love with the city. He loved the beautiful view of Mount Rainier from the city, he loved the music scene, and he especially loved the food! It seemed as though he was meant to live in Seattle.

Later, when he returned from his business trip, he walked in his front door and pronounced to his wife triumphantly, “Dear, we’re moving to Seattle!” His wife thought that this initial excitement would eventually wear away, but Tim made all the necessary preparations. He secured a position in his company at the Seattle office, selected an apartment to rent, and rented a moving van to trek across the country.

After years of living in Seattle, Tim’s love had not grown dim. While driving, he would frequently think to himself that Seattle was the only place for him. It seemed as though he was always finding new and exciting things about the city. The city was inexhaustible to him. He never grew bored.

If there was one thing Tim did not love, however, it was the Seattle traffic. Every day, Tim had to prepare himself mentally for his commute. Although in miles it was not far away from his house, all the other cars made the whole process a mess. It seemed as though every year the traffic would worsen. Although Tim detested the traffic, he would not let it get him down on the city. It was only a minor inconvenience.

This morning’s traffic was nothing new. There were cars in all the usual places. The on-ramp to the I-5 freeway was busy as normal. Tim merged into the stop and go traffic. His response to such heavy traffic had become habitual, almost unconscious. He pulled forward, the morning radio telling him the day’s news. Traffic picked up for a few feet, then stopped, then picked up, then stopped. Suddenly, while stopping, Tim felt a sudden jolt forward even though he had stopped. An abrupt burst of pain, like lightning, was sent shooting down his back. He quickly peered into his rear-view mirror to see that someone had slammed into the back of him.

Many people have been the victim of an accident just like Tim. While there are thousands of things to love about Seattle, most residents will admit that one thing they dislike is the constant, horrendous traffic. Whether you are on Denny Way between First and Fairview Avenue or driving the I-5 through downtown, during rush hour, these areas are bound to be severely congested. According to the Washington State Collision Data Summary, the number of collisions increases during rush hour, peaking from the hours of 3:00-6:00 in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the more drivers there are on the road, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident.

Sometimes, like Tim, there isn’t much you can do to prevent someone else’s bad driving behavior. For example, if someone behind you is looking at their phone or fiddling with their radio, a split-second crash can happen. Many insurance companies are aware of this. Some insurance industry estimates project that average drivers will file a claim for a collision about every 17.9 years. Sadly, even when the collision is not your fault, the crash can be costly. A serious car accident can result in expensive medical bills and property damage.

Traffic in Seattle ranks among the worst in the United States. The US News and World Report lists that people living in Seattle will spend an average of 66 hours a year in traffic! As the city continues to grow, the traffic continues to worsen. According to the TomTom Traffic Index, Seattle ranks as the sixth worst in the United States for its congestion levels. This ranking places it alongside cities like San Francisco and New York. Obviously, big cities will suffer from burdensome levels of traffic; however, more densely populated cities like Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia all ranked better in terms of traffic than Seattle.

Infrastructure further intensifies Seattle’s traffic problems. Poor roads and bridges can contribute to worse traffic because the roads and bridges are unprepared to handle the increased number of cars each year. Washington State received a D+ on its infrastructure report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers for its roads. The report indicates that “the bulk of [the road and freeway system] was built more than fifty years ago and has lasted for longer and carries more traffic that it was originally designed for.” Similarly, the report identifies that poorer pavement conditions can increase congestion.

While there is an infinite amount of great reasons for living in Seattle, one of the downsides is the traffic. It is something residents just have to endure. The long commute can sometimes result in unfortunate accidents like Tim’s. As mentioned, some accidents can result in severe injury and property damage. When such an event occurs, sometimes being open to the idea of hiring a personal injury attorney can be a good option. A good personal injury attorney can help you recover lost wages, defer medical bills, and reach a fair settlement with the insurance companies. These benefits can offset the damages because of your accident.