This is the second installment of The Pickett Law Firm’s in-depth look at some of the most dangerous roads in the Yakima Valley region. Each blog in the three-part series focuses on a different section of roadway, and offers tips to reduce your risk of an accident on these hazardous stretches of interstate highway.
While Yakima only has about 95,000 residents, many more commute to the city every day for work. This rising number of commuters means many of the roads leading into and out of town are at or above capacity during rush hour. This increased congestion, especially when paired with distracted driving and other negligent behaviors, leads to dozens of car accidents each year.
Dangerous Washington Road: I-82 from Ellensburg to Yakima
Interstate 82 links I-90 to I-84, and crosses through Manastash, Umtanum, and Yakima. The interstate originates south of Ellensburg, Washington, in the heart of the Kittitas Valley.
Commuters from Ellensburg, Pomona, Selah, and other areas often use I-82 to commute into Yakima or to head to Valley Mall in Union Gap
This short stretch of interstate is less than 40 miles long, but accounts for a number of devastating car crashes each year. While the area can be especially rough during the winter, clear weather accidents — especially near the U.S. 12 interchange — are all too common.
What types of crashes are common on I-82?
One of the most dangerous sections of I-82 is between mile markers 26 and 31, through Selah and around the U.S. 12 interchange. This section of I-82 sees far too many crashes each year, including automobile, truck, and motorcycle wrecks. Single-car crashes are also common, usually resulting from motorists who fail to negotiate one of the interstate’s curves.
A 2014 truck accident closed all but one lane of I-82 near the U.S. 12/North First Street exit for several hours during the morning commute. The truck driver lost control of his rig at mile marker 31, and rolled partially down an embankment. The driver suffered only minor injuries. His wife who was sleeping in the semi’s sleeper required airlifting to Seattle for treatment of serious injuries.
In June 2016, just three miles down the road, a motorcycle rider from Poulsbo suffered injuries in a crash near mile marker 28. The accident occurred just before midnight, when he ran off the road and crashed while negotiating a curve.
In the same month, just east of the U.S. 12 interchange, a Union Gap teen died when his car left the roadway and rolled, landing on its roof. The Washington State Patrol officers who worked the incident believe the accident occurred late on Monday night, although they did not discover the crash until early on Tuesday.
The stretch between Ellensburg and Selah can also be dangerous, especially when motorists are drunk, distracted, or otherwise negligent.
On a late night in September 2015, six teens from Yakima all suffered injuries in a drunk driving crash on I-82 about 16 miles southeast of Ellensburg. When the 17-year-old driver failed to negotiate a curve, the car left the roadway and rolled. Crews had to airlift two passengers to Seattle for treatment of critical injuries.
How can I stay safe while traveling on I-82 in Washington?
By taking the right precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk of suffering injuries on this stretch of I-82. Follow these tips for safe driving to decrease your chances of causing or being involved a crash on your commute:
- Pay attention to the speed limit, and drive at a speed appropriate for the current conditions.
- Drive defensively in heavy traffic.
- Take the time to double check your blind spots before changing lanes or merging.
- Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses in the winter.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- Never drive drunk, distracted, fatigued, or under the influence of drugs.
- Keep your attention on the road, not on your cell phone or other distractions.
While you can take precautions, drive defensively, and give the road your full attention, other drivers may not. If you suffer injuries due to the negligence of another Yakima Valley driver, The Pickett Law Firm can help.
One key part of recovering this compensation is enlisting the help of a Yakima car accident attorney.
At The Pickett Law Firm, we can help you recover compensation to pay for your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and more.
Call us today at 509-972-1825 to schedule a free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal options to recover compensation.