KIRO NIGHTS

Unpopular opinion: Blame yourself for bad traffic in Western Washington

Aug 4, 2018, 9:06 AM
pay per mile, road usage charge, seattle traffic, memorial day 2019, Labor Day...
(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Though many would like to point the finger at authorities for the traffic mess the region finds itself in, KIRO Nights hosts Zak Burns and Gee Scott note that there’s another equally guilty culprit — you.

All of us, really.

“I know we like to blame SDOT, WSDOT, all our departments of transportation for our traffic woes,” Zak said. “And certainly they are partially to blame. But we have to start looking inward a little bit more.”

Both KIRO Nights hosts Gee and Zak were recently stuck — in separate cars — in the same traffic jam around Tacoma. Cars came to a sluggish crawl.

RELATED: Traffic is a symptom of larger problem

“Suddenly, we are stuck in this traffic jam in Tacoma,” Zak said. “I always find it fascinating to see exactly what caused this. What is the reason for this?”

It turns out, there were two cars involved in an accident. The drivers had pulled over to the side of the road on a rather wide shoulder.

“Plenty of room; you didn’t have to slow down whatsoever,” Zak said. “But guess what everybody did? They slowed down just to take a little peek. What did that cause? A massive, massive backup. The minute we passed the accident, the lookie-loos had nothing to lookie-loo at, and the entire traffic jam just went away. That is completely human behavior. Nothing to do with infrastructure. Nothing to do with what WSDOT has done. Nothing to do with what SDOT has done. We are creating so many of our own traffic jams.”

Human behavior is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Simply put, there are a lot of bad drivers out there slowing things down for everybody else. It’s easy to blame WSDOT for bad traffic. It’s not so easy to confront your neighbor or the person one lane over who is blatantly on their phone.

“Folks are on their phones,” Gee said. “I actually took a picture (of the accident), so I can blame myself. I took the picture because I was mad. I was real mad that there was bad traffic for no reason.”

“Traffic in our town, a lot of it is caused by us,” he said. “We have rubber necks … and another thing that is hurting us — we are on our phones. We are checking social media, emails, text messages that are going on right now. It’s slowing everybody down. Instead of going 60 miles an hour, you’re going 54.”

By the way, Washington does have a pretty strict distracted driving law.

Gee’s observation lines up with a recent study out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham which states distracted driving is slowing things down on the road. Not to mention another study that ranked Washington state with the fifth worst drivers in the nation.

“And we refuse to zipper merge,” Zak added.

The zipper merge phenomena in Washington has prompted multiple reminders from KIRO Radio traffic reporter Chris Sullivan. One brewery even became so frustrated by it, they painted instructions on their delivery trucks.

“I know we get angry at others, but we should really start blaming ourselves,” Zak said.

KIRO Nights on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to kiro nightsTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 7 pm for KIRO Nights with Jack Stine.

KIRO Nights

KIRO Nights

Kshama Sawant recall...
KIRO Nights

‘The one politician you can’t count out’: Can Kshama Sawant fend off recall challenge?

KIRO Nights host Jack Stine and guest Matt Markovich believe the Sawant recall race could end up coming all the way down to the wire.
2 days ago
Waukesha...
Jack Stine

Stine: Mistaking the media narrative surrounding Waukesha parade tragedy

In the case of the Waukesha parade incident, we have somebody who is objectively a mass murderer. What more do you want to tease out of this case?
6 days ago
Seattle City Attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy....
KIRO Nights

Nicole Thomas-Kennedy reflects on stress of city attorney campaign in first post-election interview

Nicole Thomas-Kennedy reflects on the stress she endured during her campaign, and whether she might run for office again in the future.
7 days ago
turkey...
KIRO Nights

Is turkey for Thanksgiving overrated? KIRO Nights says yes

Thanksgiving is just a couple days away, and a lot of people will be eating turkey because that's the tradition. But if it didn't have to be?
13 days ago
fully vaccinated...
Jack Stine

Stine says ‘no, thank you’ to changing definition of fully vaccinated

Jack Stine says he woke up, opened his phone, saw a headline and out loud said: "No, thank you. I am not interested in this. I will not be participating."
18 days ago
To commemorate his return to the KIRO Radio studio this week, Chris Sullivan joined the exclusive "...
KIRO Nights

‘Back into the swing of things’ as Seattle workers return to the office, including at KIRO Radio

As employees start returning to the office -- including at KIRO Radio -- it will take some getting used to for those who have been remote for so long.
21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Unpopular opinion: Blame yourself for bad traffic in Western Washington