Over the next few weeks, Larson Griffee & Pickett PLLC will offer a look at some of Washington’s most dangerous roads. Each blog of our three-part series will focus on a different section of roadway, aiming to help you reduce your risk of an accident on these dangerous Yakima Valley thoroughfares.

Engineers designed the interstates leading into Yakima with a small city in mind; since their design, the number of commuters traveling into and out of the city each day has greatly exceeded the original capacity of these roads. With the increase in traffic congestion and the proliferation of distracted driving, car accidents are a growing problem in the Yakima Valley region.

Dangerous Washington Road: I-90/I-82 Near Cle Elum

I-90 is the longest interstate in the United States, stretching more than 3,000 miles from coast to coast. In Washington, the interstate highway connects Seattle to Cle Elum before heading east about 30 miles north of Yakima. I-90 plays an important role in helping travelers cross the state, whether they are traveling for business or pleasure.

Some commuters from Ellensburg use I-90 to travel into Yakima for work, and the trip from Cle Elum is common for concerts, shopping, or other special events. Traffic congestion, high speeds, and negligent motorists make this stretch of interstate a dangerous road for both daily commuters and travelers.

Late night trips are also risky, with sleepy motorists frequently falling asleep behind the wheel and leaving the roadway. Elk fencing along much of this stretch helps prevent animal encounters and related accidents, but can pose a hazard if a vehicle does run off the road.

Further out from the city, motorists take I-90 through the Snoqualmie Pass to reach Seattle. This pass can be treacherous. Construction through the pass is currently in Phase II, which will last through 2019, so travelers to this area can expect construction delays for years to come.

What types of crashes are common on I-90?

Once drivers get outside of the crowded Yakima metro area on I-90, many seem tempted to push their vehicles to the max. Especially in the area between Ellensburg and Cle Elum, speed-related crashes are common.

In June of 2015, a state trooper risked his own life pulling a motorist from his burning car after he lost control at more than 120 miles an hour. This crash, near Cle Elum on I-90, occurred when the driver slammed into a parked semi-truck on the shoulder of the interstate. The driver suffered serious injuries in the fiery crash.

The section of I-90 near Cle Elum is also a common place for pile-ups — multi vehicle accidents that can leave dozens injured. A four-car crash recently killed a Tacoma woman and left several others with serious, life-threatening injuries.

Losing control — whether due to speed, fatigue, distracted driving, mechanical issues, or other causes — can also lead to accidents on this stretch of I-90. A child suffered injuries after her father lost control of the car, which left I-90 and crashed through elk fencing between in Cle Elum this spring.

In a similar accident, an 18-year-old lost her life and three other teens suffered injuries in July. This crash, just west of Ellensburg on I-90, occurred after the driver veered off the interstate, overcorrected, and rolled the car.

How can I stay safe while traveling on I-90 in Washington?

Knowing the common causes of accidents on I-90 and avoiding them can help you prevent a crash. Some of the best practices to stay safe of I-90 include:

  • Always obey the posted speed limit, and slow down in poor visibility, bad weather, or other adverse conditions
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Stop and rest or have a passenger drive if you are tired
  • Pay careful attention to trucks, cars, and motorcycles around you
  • Look twice before changing lanes
  • Leave your cell phone and other electronic devices stowed while driving
  • Never text and drive
  • Always wear your seatbelt
  • Know how to react if you are in a crash

Even if you take every precaution to avoid an accident, you may still find yourself involved in an I-90 crash. If you do suffer injuries in a Yakima area car accident, Larson Griffee & Pickett PLLC can help. Our car accident guide and FAQs answer many of the questions you may have about how to best protect yourself after a crash.

Of course, if you suffered injuries you may also need the advice of a Yakima car accident attorney, based on the specifics of your case. Larson Griffee & Pickett PLLC offers free case evaluations, and can help you get the compensation you need to cover the damages you suffered. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.

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