Last week there were a couple of big car accidents on Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick, one of the most dangerous streets in Kennewick. I nearly witnessed the first accident right in front of Anderson Law. It got me thinking about the adage that most accidents happen close to home. Progressive Insurance confirmed this adage about 20 years ago. According to their study, just over half of all collisions occur within 5 miles of home and over 70% occur within 10 miles of home. Scroll down for the name of the other street you might want to stay away from and to find out what you can do about it.
The two most dangerous streets in Kennewick, based on internal data and confirmed by the Kennewick Police Department, are Clearwater Avenue and Columbia Center Boulevard. Edison Avenue is a distant third. Some of you might say that’s obvious because they are the two busiest streets in Kennewick. But it’s not just because they are busy. There are a couple of additional factors.
One reason Clearwater Avenue is more dangerous than it should be is because Ben Franklin Transit and Kennewick School District buses stop in the middle of the right lane of traffic to pick up and to drop off passengers. Where most larger streets might include a turnoff for buses, the City of Kennewick, with the input from Ben Franklin transit, opted not to incur this additional cost when major improvements were made to the street a decade ago. This causes traffic to stop away from traffic signals, and many drivers carelessly change lanes to avoid stopping behind the buses.
Columbia Center Boulevard is more dangerous than the average street because there are so many businesses and shopping with direct access points to the street. This creates much more congestion and causes more collisions than what you see in more modern master-planned communities that have limited access points for commercial areas.
What You Can Do
Driving close to home doesn’t have to be more dangerous. However, it is more common to be in a collision close to home because that’s where you spend most of your time. Most driving time is spent close to home because that’s where our schools, grocery stores, and places of employment are.
Driving close to home can also be more dangerous if we drive too casually. This happens frequently because the more familiar we are with a location, the more likely we are to drive with only one hand on the steering wheel. We’re also more likely to drive in “autopilot” without really thinking about the dangers we might face.
The first step to maintaining safe driving close to home is being aware of the increased risk due to familiarity and the sheer quantity of time spent close to home. The second step is adjusting your driving patterns a little bit. If you regularly drive a couple of miles an hour over the speed limit, take extra care to drive just under the speed limit when you’re close to home. If you need to adjust the thermostat or the radio, do it before leaving the driveway or the parking lot. And, if you can, stay away from the streets you know are the busiest.
All the same, even the best drivers can’t control the people around them. So, if you find yourself in a car accident on Columbia Center Boulevard, or Clearwater, or both, please call one of the personal injury lawyers at Anderson Law. We’re here to help!