Ah, the sun is out—well, sort of. This Western Washington summer sun is hiding a bit more than last year’s. As it warms up even more, traffic in and out of the Puget Sound area will likely become more congested and filled with vehicles often not seen in the colder months. These types of vehicles require more caution than most so here are some driving safety tips when driving this summer.
Motorcycles / Bicycles
The warmer the weather gets, the more bikes you’ll see on the road. While bicycles are not allowed on most highways, motorcycles are hard to spot while cruising down an interstate. Motorcycles are much lighter than cars and are able to stop much sooner. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to leave more room behind a motorcycle than you would another car. In the case of bicycles, if you able to you should keep a reasonable distance. While most bicyclists will stick as close to the curb as possible, if one is more toward the middle of the road, you should pass the cyclist as you would a motor vehicle.
These behemoths are everywhere on roads during the summer months. Though some RVs can get to the same proportions as semi-trucks, Washington State does not require RV drivers to obtain a special license. Therefore, most RV drivers have not undergone defense driving safety training as is required when driving large commercial vehicles like semi-trucks. Be alert when driving near RVs; give them enough stopping distance (about the length of their RV) and be aware if an RV is turning as it might need much more room to avoid hitting the curb’s corner.
In Washington State, travel and/or camping trailers must be less than 14 feet and below 8 feet 6 inches wide. Unfortunately, there is no legal length limit though the most allowed in a couple states outside of Washington is 53 feet. Due to the nature of these trailers, the combined weight of both trailer and vehicle is toward the rear.
Most of these trailers do not have hydraulic braking systems common in regular vehicles. They use an electric brake, which, as you hold down your own brake pedal, applies increasing braking tension the longer you hold down your pedal. If a camping trailer is forced to stop quickly, the trailer may or may not stop. Never follow a camping trailer too closely and be prepared to avoid them if they have to stop quickly.
Summer months mean people will likely be transporting bikes, kayaks, and other gear on the tops or backs of their vehicles. As you approach these types of vehicles, check quickly to see if their items are secure. If they look a little wobbly or loose, for driving safety, avoid being too near to the vehicle. If you yourself are transporting such items, make sure you have fully secured them before leaving. If you can, test drive your vehicle with the secured items on a deserted or less-used road before leaving on your trip.
If you get into an accident with one of the above listed vehicles, you may have rights to obtain compensation for any injuries you sustained in the accident. The Advocates are on call 24/7 to discuss your possible case. We don’t get anything until you do, so call us today!