Labor Day Weekend: Last Summer ‘hoorah’ will be busy.

Many families press the pause button on back-to-school shopping and preparations for one last family vacation during Labor Day weekend. Labor Day weekend is expected to be one of the most congested and busy in a long time. The attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno recommend not waiting until the last minute to plan your adventure.

Consult Holiday Traffic Volume Charts

The attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno encourage travelers to consult the holiday traffic volume charts published by the Washington State Department of Transportation. These charts help determine the best times to travel and times to avoid.

“Know Before You Go” Steps to Follow

By following these steps, travelers can plan ahead, avoid unwanted traffic and stress, and have the best ‘last hoorah’ before school starts:

  • Get informed about WSDOT’s online tools, including the WSDOT mobile apptraffic cameras and email alerts.
  • Visit online traveler information for traffic, weather, ferry schedules and a real-time travel map.
  • Follow WSDOT on social media, which includes several Twitter accounts and a Facebook page.
  • Pre-program your vehicle radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.
  • Call 5-1-1 for updated road conditions.
  • Have a backup outdoor destination as parks and other outdoor recreation sites tend to fill up quickly on holiday weekends. If a site’s parking is full, never park along road shoulders, as this is unsafe for everyone on the roadway.
  • Allow extra time for travel to avoid rushing or distraction.

Highway construction paused

Most state highway construction work is suspended through the holiday weekend – including Monday, Sept. 5 – to ease congestion. However, please stay alert for new lane shifts or work zone staging areas that may remain in place. And please give any emergency repair crews plenty of space to work safely.

Snoqualmie Pass

No construction is planned on I-90 from Friday, Sept. 2, until to Tuesday, Sept. 6. However, the usual holiday increase in traffic volumes means travelers should expect delays, especially eastbound on Friday and westbound on Monday (see charts for more detail). Text message alerts about significant delays are available by texting the words “WSDOT Snoqualmie” to 468311.

Tolling

In the Puget Sound, weekend toll rates will be in effect on Monday, Sept. 5, on the State Route 520 bridge and SR 99 tunnel. The I-405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers on the Monday holiday. Out-of-town travelers, including those using rental cars, can learn about toll roads and temporary account payment options on the Good To Go! visitors page.

Ferry travel

People boarding a state ferry by vehicle should prepare for long waits. Peak travel times on most routes are expected to be westbound Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 1-3, and eastbound, Sunday through Tuesday, Sept. 4-6. Customers also can bypass vehicle lines by traveling as a walk-on passenger.

  • All riders should double check the sailing schedules as some routes are operating on timetables that are different than prior to the pandemic.
  • Visit the Washington State Ferries website for more details on vehicle reservations, ferry email alerts, checking terminal conditions and COVID-19 travel updates.

Trains, airports and transit

Travelers making a trip by train, personal aircraft or bus also should plan ahead to avoid holiday delays:

  • Amtrak Cascades passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations. The federal CDC still recommends wearing face masks on indoor transit, but they are no longer required. Visit www.amtrakcascades.com or call 800–USA–RAIL for details.

Car Accidents on the Rise

The increased traffic and congestion means the greater likelihood for a collision. And, Washington officials are warning drivers to be mindful on the road as a record number of people were killed statewide in crashes last year, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Last year’s total of 633 traffic deaths marks a 20-year high and the numbers for 2022 are on the rise.

If you’ve been in a collision, What Should You Do?

1. Call Law Enforcement
The at-fault driver may dispute their role in the collision leaving an injured motorist or passenger struggling to prove their innocence. Law enforcement is not required to prepare an accident report in every case; therefore, call law enforcement in the event of a collision and ask that they take statements and prepare a report. You don’t always know the extent of vehicle damage or injuries until days later, and sometimes memories fade, so you should make a complete record of the incident at the time that it happens.

2. Exchange Information
Be sure to exchange driver’s license, insurance and registration information with the other automobiles involved in the collision. “Too often we are tracking down information about other drivers, cars and witnesses,” said Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP Attorney and Partner Todd Rayan.

3. Get More Information
Take photographs of the automobiles and scene, and get the name and contact information for any witnesses to the collision. More and more insurance companies are denying liability or trying to assign contributory fault to the innocent victim. Witness information is invaluable in many cases. Even without witnesses, experienced personal injury attorneys know how to get information. “Newer vehicles have Event Data Recorders (EDR),” said Rayan. “Our experience with these EDRs make a huge difference in cases because they record information about the collision that can prove or disprove facts of the case.”

4. Seek Medical Attention
Many health insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for injuries suffered in car collisions. That’s a huge hole in your insurance considering that roughly a quarter of all accidental deaths in America result from road wrecks. “Unfortunately for the injured victim of an automobile crash, some insurance require full reimbursement before the victim sees a dime, like ERISA plans,” said Rayan. “We help the victims and their families to be made whole and work to protect the rights and benefits for our clients.”

5. Report the Collision to Your Insurance
While you have no obligation to speak with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, you do have an obligation to cooperate with your insurance company to provide basic information about the collision. “Speaking with the other driver’s insurance company will not help your case,” said Peter Abbarno, Attorney and Partner with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP. “We advise our clients to not speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance company until such time as they are finished treating or ready to make a formal demand for damages.”

6. Call Althauser Rayan Abbarno for a Free Consultation
Althauser Rayan Abbarno’s injury attorneys offer free consultations in Centralia and Olympia to victims of automobile collisions. “We want victims of automobile collisions to focus on their health,” said Abbarno. “We want to provide as much information about the process, so that potential clients can make informed decisions about their health and case.” Althauser Rayan Abbarno also offers free glove box injury cards to anyone wishing to pick it up at their Centralia and Olympia offices. Call (360) 736-1301 or Visit us!

Your Attorneys in Centralia and Olympia : Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP

Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP is honored to assist their clients in a wide range of legal matters; including personal injury and worker’s compensation. Their experienced and knowledgeable attorneys are trial-ready and prepared to fight for your rights and benefits. Contact Althauser Rayan Abbarno at (360) 736-1301 to schedule a FREE consultation. For more information, visit their website at CentraliaLaw.com.