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Traffic Safety

OK to run fog lights with no fog — but they better be legal

Street Smarts reader Dan Kessler has noted that some vehicles have a second set of lights in the front that are awfully bright.“I used to have fog lights on my vehicle and they didn’t reach this level of candle power,” he said.

Date: 09/02/2015 | Street Smarts

Back-to-school rules for following school buses

Back-to-school means a big uptick in traffic.Cars taking kids to school account for up to 14 percent of the morning rush, according to...

Date: 08/30/2015 | Street Smarts

Mom cited for allegedly driving on I-5 while breast-feeding

EVERETT — A Mountlake Terrace woman was handed a traffic ticket Wednesday evening after allegedly breast-feeding her infant son while driving on I-5.Around 7 p.m., a 911 caller reported seeing a baby in the driver’s lap as she headed northbound on the freeway in Everett.

Date: 08/27/2015 | Local News

Please, don’t toke and drive

It's probably not a surprise that marijuana use is being found more often among drivers who are involved in fatal accidents.Following voters' legalization of recreational...

Date: 08/25/2015 | Editorials

Crews work to ensure trains will keep rolling when rains hit

EVERETT — Work has started to shore up the worst of the slipping, sliding coastal bluffs above the railroad tracks between Everett and Mukilteo.Mudslides pose a seasonal nuisance — and danger — for Sounder commuters, Amtrak passengers and freight trains.

Date: 08/21/2015 | Local News

Tips for parents of teen drivers

When your child is born, you carefully strap her into her state-of-the-art car seat. You slap “Baby On Board” warning signs in the window. You slow down, keep two hands on the wheel, and suddenly marvel at the dangerous stupidity of other drivers.

Date: 08/18/2015 | Street Smarts

Toyota uses tech to stop distracted driving

Texting at 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field ... blindfolded.

Date: 08/16/2015 | Life

Volkswagen recalls 420,000 vehicles for air bag issue

NEW YORK — Volkswagen is recalling 420,000 vehicles in the U.S. because of a problem that can prevent front air bags from deploying in a crash.

Date: 08/15/2015 | Business Wire

Roadside brush fires nearly double

Summer is usually a busy month for Washington State Department of Transportation crews. But with roughly double the number of roadside brush fires this season compared to last year — more...

Date: 08/12/2015 | Street Smarts

Cities pleased with outcomes

It took 176 days, with two special sessions, including a few extra days tacked on at the end. And with so much riding on a number of outcomes, it was often frustrating to watch as deals were made, dashed and made...

Date: 07/23/2015 | Editorials

Upgrades to North Road near Lynnwood High almost done

LYNNWOOD — After two summers of dust and detours, a rebuilt North Road promises a smoother ride ahead.

Date: 07/22/2015 | Local News

23-car pileup after shooting closes I-5 near Mount Vernon, 6 injured

A dump truck carrying gravel crossed the median of I-5 in Mount Vernon on Saturday, injuring at least six people when it plowed into oncoming traffic that was stopped while police investigated an earlier shooting, authorities said.

Date: 07/18/2015 | Northwest

When it’s OK for motorcycles, bikes to run red light

Floyd Ply rides a motorcycle. Every once in awhile, he hits a light that doesn’t know he’s there.

Date: 07/16/2015 | Street Smarts

How to get where we’re going on transportation

Compromise requires concession, especially when the subjects of transportation, taxes and the environment intersect.It appears the Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee have come to terms on a $16.1 billion transportation budget that should be ready for the governor's signature...

Date: 06/30/2015 | Editorials

State’s economy depends on federal transportation bill

In Northwest Washington, we rely on the usual ways to get ourselves to work, school and recreation: driving our cars on roads, bridges and highways. But we also rely on many other transportation modes. Our ferry system is the largest in the country. And we go motor-free on our legs and...

Date: 06/30/2015 | Commentary

Soon, no more need for U-turn at Seattle Hill intersection

Kristine Scoville of Everett asks: "I am concerned about the intersection of 132nd Street SE and Seattle Hill Road. At this intersection eastbound Highway 96 turns left from 132nd onto Seattle Hill Road. You are also able to make a legal U-turn to access the strip mall on the...

Date: 06/29/2015 | Street Smarts

More people are taking potty breaks at I-5 rest areas

You know them for the free coffee. But rest areas also are a good barometer of an improving economy.Visits to safety rest areas increased statewide by 8.2 percent, to an estimated 22.5 million visits in...

Date: 06/25/2015 | Street Smarts

A united call to pass transportation budget

An open letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, Sens. Mark Schoesler, Sharon Nelson and Curtios King; House Speaker Frank Chopp and Reps. Judy Clibborn and Dan Kristiansen; and all members of the Washington state Legislature:We are writing in a united, bipartisan spirit as leaders,...

Date: 06/25/2015 | Commentary

Feds probe Jeep Wranglers; air bags may not inflate

DETROIT — U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that a wiring problem in Jeep Wrangler steering wheels could stop the air bags from inflating in a crash.The probe covers about 630,000 Wranglers from the 2007 through 2012 model years.

Date: 06/23/2015 | Business Wire

When it’s OK to make a U-turn

Jim Rowlan writes: “I’ve always thought that U-turns are only allowed where they are explicitly allowed and that a left-turn only sign meant just that. Over the past few weeks, I have been nearly hit at the intersection of

Date: 06/16/2015 | Street Smarts

When is it OK to turn right on red from an inside lane?

Terri Snider raised a concern about the intersection of 172nd Street NE and 27th Avenue NE outside...

Date: 06/12/2015 | Street Smarts

Road work aims to make Broadway Avenue safer

SNOHOMISH — Snohomish County is gearing up to build nearly three miles of road shoulder this summer on Broadway Avenue, east of Highway 9.

Date: 06/07/2015 | Local News

Better traction coming to I-5 ramp

A curvy Everett on-ramp prone to crashes in wet weather will get a new kind of surface treatment.Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close the ramp over an upcoming weekend (the work is weather dependent). A detour will be...

Date: 06/07/2015 | Street Smarts

A longer queue for left turns onto Jordan Road

This is a familiar problem at heavily used intersections.

Date: 06/03/2015 | Street Smarts

No ‘walkable path,’ no crosswalk

Phyllis Hawkins of Everett writes: The corner of 110th Street SE and 23rd Drive SE in south Everett could really use a crosswalk, even...

Date: 06/02/2015 | Street Smarts

Highway 530 safety signs to be installed in June

OSO — Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews plan to install new signs in early June on Highway 530 in Oso between Steelhead Drive and Whitehorse Trail. The signs will state that it is illegal to stop, stand or make a U-turn.

Date: 05/27/2015 | Local News

Federal gas tax increase is long overdue

The image of Congress kicking the can down the road again comes to mind, except this time lawmakers are running out of good road.Earlier this week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a two-month extension of the federal Highway Trust Fund. With the trust fund set to...

Date: 05/22/2015 | Editorials

Crash spurs switch to four-way stop

The intersection of 230th Street SW and 58th Avenue West in Mountlake Terrace has been converted from a 2-way stop to an all-way...

Date: 05/20/2015 | Street Smarts

Self-driving car crashes reported

LOS ANGELES — Google Inc. revealed Monday that its self-driving cars have been in 11 minor traffic accidents since it began experimenting with the technology six years ago.The company released the number after The Associated Press reported that Google had notified...

Date: 05/11/2015 | Business Wire

Traffic jams expected for Lynnwood Chick-fil-A opening

LYNNWOOD — Chick-fil-A is set to open in Lynnwood on Thursday.The Southern fast-food chain, known for simple chicken sandwiches on buttered buns, is sure to...

Date: 05/05/2015 | Business

How wildlife corridors are helping animals and motorists

Get ready. Get set. Go! Dash from the edge of I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass across lanes of traffic going 60 to 75 mph. Reach the median. Take a deep breath. Look for traffic. Wait, wait, go! In this scenario, you live or you're road kill.If you're...

Date: 05/03/2015 | Life

Go with the flow — how speed limits are set

In answering a reader’s question, Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Pearce shared how the state arrives at its speed limits. It’s interesting enough to...

Date: 04/17/2015 | Street Smarts

Budget negotiations hit snag in state Legislature

OLYMPIA — With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, budget negotiations between House Democrats and Senate Republicans hit a snag Wednesday.

Date: 04/16/2015 | Northwest

Take fender-benders off I-5, and other tips from troopers

How bad is congestion? It’s so bad, even the Washington State Patrol is taking up the issue — complete with its catch-phrases and acronyms that stretch the limits of the English language.

Date: 03/20/2015 | Street Smarts

Is a crosswalk needed at Broadway and 34th?

Bus rider Cynthia Wheaton often uses the stop at 34th Street and Broadway in Everett. Crossing Broadway to use the bus stop, however, can be stressful."I wear a bright yellow jacket for visibility and carefully wait for a big gap in traffic both ways, but I have been...

Date: 03/19/2015 | Street Smarts

Road signs never die, they’re just reassigned

We're taking a detour today.An avid Street Smarts reader called me one day wondering about his Everett neighbor's propensity to decorate with street signs of various sorts. Is that even legal?(And what would we call that? Cabby chic? Mid-intersection modern?)

Date: 03/16/2015 | Street Smarts

Senate votes to ban smartphone use behind the wheel

OLYMPIA — The Washington Senate has voted to extend the state’s ban on cellphone use while driving to cover the range of functions a smartphone can now serve — like using Twitter and Facebook.

Date: 03/10/2015 | Northwest

Nothing planned for Highway 9 and 108th Street

Julie Hanner from Marysville asks: “Are there any plans in the works for a traffic light in Marysville at Highway 9 and 108th? Four people were killed at that intersection a few years back. It is really hard to enter a 55 mph...

Date: 03/09/2015 | Street Smarts

Roundabouts now pegged as Highway 524 solution

Here’s one of those problem areas that just keeps coming up, year after year.

Date: 03/05/2015 | Street Smarts

Countdown timers are for pedestrians only

Susan Kramer of Everett writes: “Everett has installed some pedestrian (walk/don’t walk) signal lights that have countdown timers. Some of these timers are coordinated with the traffic lights such that when the timer reaches zero the light turns yellow and shortly thereafter red. For others, when...

Date: 03/04/2015 | Street Smarts

Work ahead yet for legislators

Nobody said the road to compromise was going to be straight and smooth.The state Senate on Monday indeed passed a $15 billion transportation...

Date: 03/04/2015 | Editorials

Centennial Middle School gets sophisticated crosswalk signal

MACHIAS — A new kind of crosswalk signal is to be put into service Tuesday on South Machias Road in front of Centennial Middle School.Pedestrians will press a button to turn on a high-intensity activated crosswalk signal, which then gives oncoming traffic a yellow, then red light to stop.

Date: 03/03/2015 | Local News

'Blue' headlights — legal or not?

This blog post has been updated since its first publication to clarify when it is legal and illegal to have HID headlights.

Date: 03/03/2015 | Street Smarts

Teens push for headlights 24/7

Street Smarts reader Palmer Edwards, of Snohomish, recently wrote asking why the state doesn’t require drivers to keep their headlights on at all times.“It’s a no-brainer and does not cost anything,” Edwards said.

Date: 03/01/2015 | Street Smarts

Used car seat a perfect toy? Think again

We recently shared the struggle of eco-conscious families to recycle expired car seats.

Date: 02/27/2015 | Street Smarts

Texting and driving is bad! (So why do we still do it?)

We know the law, we recognize its value — and then we ignore it completely. (To invoke a fictional pirate, they’re "more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.")It's true of the speed limit. And it's true of cellphone use,...

Date: 02/22/2015 | Street Smarts

Edmonds soliciting ideas to get drivers to slow down

EDMONDS — Cities try just about everything to keep drivers from speeding on neighborhood streets.In Edmonds, they've found one method that's been successful on two city roadways — installing illuminated signs that blink and show a driver's speed.Now...

Date: 02/17/2015 | Local News

Out of my Waze!

Smartphone map app makes driving a party

Date: 02/15/2015 | Life

OK to follow an ambulance?

You’re on the highway during rush hour. Then an ambulance, lights flashing and sirens a’blaring, needs to get by. So like everyone else you sigh and slow down even more, move over, and tell yourself that a few more minutes in traffic is certainly better than being in whatever situation is prompting...

Date: 02/15/2015 | Street Smarts

Roads paved by compromise

It still faces committee hearings and votes in the state Senate and House, but a transportation package announced Thursday by a bipartisan group of...

Date: 02/15/2015 | Editorials

Ban destructive studded tires

Every year, sure as the snow falls, some sensible soul in Olympia will introduce a bill to ban the use of studded tires, those perennial wheels of destruction. And every year, as if suffering from agoraphobia, the common-sense bill goes nowhere.Apparently years of spinning...

Date: 02/09/2015 | Editorials

School bus cameras to snap photos of illegal passers in Pierce County

TACOMA — Video cameras on school buses will snap photos of drivers who pass school buses illegally in southeast Pierce County.

Date: 02/08/2015 | Northwest

How long to wait for a pedestrian

OK, so we've answered the question of what a crosswalk is — now, how long do you wait for a pedestrian to move through one?"My friends and I are confused about the state law regarding the...

Date: 02/05/2015 | Street Smarts

State must check truck heights

Two inches. That was the difference between any other day for the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River and its May 23, 2013 collapse, caused when a truck carrying an over-height load struck a crossbeam and brought the bridge down and sent two vehicles carrying three people into the river,...

Date: 02/04/2015 | Editorials

A crosswalk doesn’t need paint to exist

Continental, ladder or zebra ... crosswalks come in many stripes — and sometimes none at all.Let's take a look.What is a crosswalk?

Date: 02/03/2015 | Street Smarts

Motorcyclists most likely to lose control

NEW YORK - Motorcyclists may be their own worst enemy on the road.Insurer Progressive Corp. found that single-vehicle mishaps accounted for more motorcycle-related claims last year than any other event, the company said Thursday. Ohio-based Progressive said it processed 3.5...

Date: 02/01/2015 | Nation & World

Limiting access to U.S. 2 would ease congestion

There have been numerous articles and letters to the editor about the safety and congestion on U.S. 2 between Monroe and Stevens Pass. The latest article proposed a six-lane road with a rail line in the middle. While an excellent idea, it is so far over the top it will never receive any...

Date: 01/24/2015 | Commentary

Pass Arlington school bus levy

We can appreciate a school district that takes care of its equipment, and in the case of school buses, gets every mile possible out of its fleet, but there is such a thing as the end of the road for a vehicle, especially those that went into service during the Bush administration, the...

Date: 01/15/2015 | Editorials

Pet Peeve: Tailgaters — and not the kind with hot dogs

It’s playoffs season, but this tailgating discussion is no party.

Date: 01/13/2015 | Street Smarts

Pedestrian safety improvements under way near schools

EVERETT — Children can now walk to Seattle Hill Elementary School along hundreds of feet of sidewalk that didn't exist until this year.The school southeast of Everett is among more than a dozen elementaries in...

Date: 01/05/2015 | Local News

Left-turn arrows: Safety first? Or nanny state?

Mark Liechty of Granite Falls shares a concern we’re familiar with here at Street Smarts — dedicated left-turn signals.

Date: 12/31/2014 | Street Smarts

Something fishy is going on

What's up with those unusual road signs?

Date: 12/30/2014 | Whats Up With That?

Grants meant to ease congestion, improve safety on Seattle Hill Road

MILL CREEK — From wagon track, to rural crossroads, to full-fledged suburbia, the area once known as Osborn's Corner only promises to get busier.Morning and afternoon commutes...

Date: 12/24/2014 | Local News

What to do if you spin out

While we’re on the topic of being prepared for hazardous weather on the road... Have you ever spun out on ice? I have, once. And once was enough.

Date: 12/23/2014 | Street Smarts

Safety of driverless cars puzzling to California

LOS ANGELES — California’s Department of Motor Vehicles will miss a year-end deadline to adopt new rules for cars of the future because regulators first have to figure out how they’ll know whether “driverless” vehicles are safe.

Date: 12/21/2014 | Nation & World

Lawmakers looking to toughen law against distracted driving

OLYMPIA — For the second straight year, the state has lost out on hundreds of thousands of federal dollars to combat distracted driving.

Date: 12/14/2014 | Local News

Congestion fuels rear-end collisions at Airport Road intersection

Judy Gregerson of Everett says Highway 99 (Evergreen Way) at Airport Road has got to be one of the worst intersections in the county."I avoid that intersection like the plague," she said.For good reason. She was rear-ended there twice in incidents 10...

Date: 12/12/2014 | Street Smarts

Near-naked female driver arrested for DUI in Pierce County

TACOMA — A 22-year-old woman accused of driving the wrong way on a highway and speeding away from officers while wearing only a bra has appeared in court — wearing a jail uniform.

Date: 12/08/2014 | Northwest

More about signaling at roundabouts

Matt Mauzey, our reader from Lake Stevens who shared his pet peeve about signaling at roundabouts, clarifies that his concern is mainly about signaling...

Date: 11/25/2014 | Street Smarts

Problems that caused Skagit bridge collapse remain

The $550 ticket was issued in May and — we assume — has been paid.But the Washington State Patrol hadn't released its final report in the May 23, 2013, I-5 Skagit River bridge collapse until Monday.The

Date: 11/19/2014 | Editorials

Round ‘n’ round we go — rules for roundabouts

When we asked readers for their pet peeves, roundabouts came up."My pet peeve is roundabout users not signaling their intentions," said Matt Mauzey from Lake Stevens. "My noted observations are from traveling in England, where traffic flows great when...

Date: 11/17/2014 | Street Smarts

No more gunning it for a gap at 32nd Street

A new traffic signal was expected to light up in time for the Nov. 14 morning commute on Highway 9.The signal at 32nd Street SE in Lake Stevens aims to improve safety, particularly for drivers trying to make left turns on and off Highway 9 in fast-moving traffic. The...

Date: 11/14/2014 | Street Smarts

Legislature should consider penalties for drowsy driving

Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed this week, Nov. 2-9, as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in Washington. While this proclamation is a significant step toward awareness and prevention or drowsy driving, there is much more that needs to be done to keep this problem off of our roads and...

Date: 11/08/2014 | Commentary

Triple-digit commute times — here to stay?

We hit the triple digits. And then again. And again.If you were wondering if the morning commute to Seattle has been worse than ever, it’s not all in your head.

Date: 11/07/2014 | Street Smarts

Patrol: Be wary of driving while drowsy

EVERETT — With dusk now settling in before the afternoon is out, Washington State Patrol troopers are reminding people of the dangers of drowsy driving.

Date: 11/06/2014 | Local News

Federal funds flow to local projects

Three dozen transportation projects in Snohomish County, including the new Mukilteo ferry terminal and the

Date: 11/05/2014 | Street Smarts

No tricks to these driving tips

Halloween is upon us, which means it's time for some driving safety reminders.The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety notes that a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they are hit by a car traveling at 35 mph compared to 25 mph. So slow down.

Date: 10/29/2014 | Street Smarts

Stop for school bus? Not always

We recently covered School Bus Safety Week. This year’s theme aims at reminding drivers to stop for school buses when the stop arms are out and lights are flashing.

Date: 10/24/2014 | Street Smarts

Fixes coming to fire station light

Bill Selia of Everett lives near Fire Station 1 on Rucker Avenue and notes that people routinely miss the fire signal when it is triggered for an alarm. “People just blow through the light down there.” It happens in both directions, he says.

Date: 10/24/2014 | Street Smarts

Many drivers still illegally pass stopped school buses

If the bright yellow doesn't capture careful attention, the stop sign and flashing lights should.And yet many drivers still illegally pass a school bus as it stops to pick up or drop off children.School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 20-24. The awareness effort, which...

Date: 10/24/2014 | Street Smarts

Interactive map shows roads projects

The Puget Sound Regional Council has come out with a cool new map.

Date: 10/17/2014 | Street Smarts

Worst intersection?

Our question for you today: What intersection in Snohomish County do you dread the most, and why?

Date: 09/24/2014 | Street Smarts

A portable toilet in the bike lane?

Don from Everett writes about a problem with contractors parking vehicles and setting up portable toilets in the bicycle lanes along Mukilteo Boulevard. “Those bicycle lanes are where people jog, walk and bicycle. When the lanes are blocked, as they have been this summer in this location as well as...

Date: 09/20/2014 | Street Smarts

Blame the dump truck

A reader asks: “What is going on at 41st Street just east of I5? The red light has been flashing at the intersection for what seems like months.”

Date: 09/20/2014 | Street Smarts

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