Could the Bellingham Multi-Car Pileup on I-5 Monday, January 8 Have Been Prevented with Defensive Driving?
I-5 Northbound traffic was blocked for almost three hours Monday morning as emergency crews and tow trucks handled the aftermath of a multi-car pileup near the Lakeway Exit. Cars were stopped all the way back to Old Fairhaven Parkway while officials completed the cleanup and investigation. Side-streets were inundated with traffic diverted from the interstate. In total 11 vehicles were involved in the crash and two people were hurt and taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital. Thankfully there were no life-threatening injuries.
Reports of the accident indicate that a semi-truck jack-knifed after a tire popped but was able to right itself. As a result, however, cars behind the truck were forced to slam on their brakes. Several cars were rear-ended in the pileup.
While there were no fatalities in this car crash, almost 37,000 Americans dies in car accidents every year. In most cases, car accidents are preventable: learning to drive defensively can reduce your chances of getting in a motor vehicle accident.
Could defensive driving have prevented the multi-car pileup?
Defensive driving is defined as driving in a manner that goes above and beyond basic traffic laws and procedures. It is the practice of using safe driving strategies that enable motorists to address identified hazards in a well-informed, safe way; thereby reducing their risk of being in a car accident. Defensive driving techniques do prevent car accidents.
Basic defensive driving techniques include staying out of the way of aggressive drivers, never cutting off another driver, avoiding distractions and keeping an eye on the road for obstructive debris.
Defensive driving technique for freeway driving:
When driving on the freeway under normal weather conditions, never “tail” the car in front of you. Instead, use the two second rule. Choose a fixed object on the road such as a sign, when the vehicle in front of you passes that object you should be able to count two seconds before you pass. Increase the rule to three seconds in inclement weather. This rule can decrease your chances of getting into a rear-end collision in case the car(s) in front of you brake unexpectedly.
Using the two (or three) second rule can help to decrease the risk of causing a rear-end car accident. In fact, in the multi-car pileup in Bellingham this week, it is probable that some drivers were able to brake in time to avoid hitting the car in front of them but were involved in the accident anyway because the driver behind them was driving too close and rear-ended them. In a perfect world, each driver with the misfortune to be driving behind the jack-knifed truck would have had enough time and awareness of surroundings to brake without rear-ending the car in front of them.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!