Snowmageddon Tale

Todays Saga…

Began with a stop at the Co-Op Feed store in Everett. They made quick work of loading about 700 pounds of feed for Rick’s animals.

Stocking up…

Since it is not far from my house I said that I would be happy to pick it up and deliver it for him.

“Turn off the paved road!”

The neighborhood is filled with some intense hills. The truck handled amazing on the way in, however for the final hill I turned on the 4 wheel drive. I heard a pop of sorts as the truck lost its traction and began to slide rapidly back down the hill. I frantically shifted from 1st gear to reverse while trying to steer the slide and with a swish the drivers side went into the ditch.

A Delightful Sight…

The track hoe was huge! Just what my beast of at truck, a 4×4 Crew Cab Dually Diesel, was going to need. He pulled me out of the ditch and anchored me as I backed down to safety. We loaded the feed into the “Wonder Buggy” to make the trip to the barn.

Since I was having a terrible time with traction it was time pull out the chains. The Wonder Buggy returned and after we chained up the front and the outside duals I headed onward and upward.

Slip Sliding Away…

There was several inches of snow over an icy surface from the past storm. As soon as you crush the new snow, the texture acts like water on top of ice. A long straight climb came to a halt for my Jolly Green Giant.

Get a Move On…

It was important to get off the hill, so I backed up to get traction, rolling forward slowly, rocking the rig forward and back to get some momentum, accelerating quickly, trying to steer to the side, different gears, and 4×4 settings. Nope still stuck.

Pretty soon there are trucks trying to come down the hill, and trucks behind me trying to go up, and me a stuck in the muck, in the middle.

The next hour…

Included the neighbors digging into the gravel road and breaking off small branches and spreading sand to provide traction for my tires. Bouncing on the tailgate while driving.

The rescue truck they brought down…got its slide on, so they could not tow me up. In order to gain more traction they let some air out of the tires of that rig. I was not comfortable doing that with my dual wheels, as squishy Duallys that touch each other can cause a blowout.

We discovered that my 4 wheel drive is not working and seemed to contribute to the traction control issues. The truck was in my opinion over reactive, however when we put it back into 2 wheel drive it settled down. The joy and relief that I felt as I followed it up the hill, was huge.

It Takes a Village…

These amazing neighbors treated me like one of their own. The energy that they put in to each idea was astounding. Thank you for getting me and my Jolly Green Giant back on the road and home to my family this evening.

Today We Used…

A tow strap and chain, 2 pairs of tire chains, a bungie cord, 100 pounds of sand, 350 pounds of rocks between the wheel wells, rocks to use as wheel chocks, plywood for a smooth surface, shovel, assorted tools, gloves, and a flashlight hat…lots of ideas!

Traction is a Tricky Thing…

We like to compare the depth of the snow to decide if it is safe to travel. But many times it is the texture of the snow, compact snow and ice, water, slush on each surface that makes or breaks your rigs ability to connect with the road. Ad into that equation the specific hills, and angles of the roadway. Followed by factoring in the shade in a given area and the temperature at the time you are travelling.

Your traction may also be directly affected by the way the snow began. Was the road covered in rain that froze first? Did the snow fall on top of a sheet of ice, or does the snow actually connect to the grooves of the road.

Be Prepared, Be Safe, Stay Warm, and Thank You for the Help!

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What is a CDL?

What is a CDL

A Commercial Driver License (CDL) is a special license that is required by the Washington State Department of Licensing, for those who drive any of the following types of vehicles: 

  • Vehicles with a manufacturer’s weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Trailers with a manufacturer’s weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more and a combined vehicle gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • All vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people including the driver
  • All school buses
  • Vehicles used to transport any hazardous material.

For requirements related to obtaining a CDL see the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Protection is the Key

It is extremely important to protect a CDL from situations that can cause suspension, disqualification, revocation, or cancellation. 

Your CDL could be disqualified if you:

  • Commit 2 or more serious traffic offenses from separate incidents within a 3 year period. 
  • Receive a DUI conviction.
  • Have a suspension of your regular Washington State driver’s license.

Steps to reinstate a commercial driver’s license may include:

  • Retaking the knowledge and driving test
  • Fees 
  • Other Requirements as needed

Merrill Law helps protect those drivers who have commercial driver’s licenses.

There are many ways an experienced traffic attorney can fight your ticket for you.

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Let It Snow

Let it Snow

Snow in the Forecast

Although those words are such good news for skiers…they are not always the best news for drivers. Don’t worry we have got you covered with some tips to make your trip with less slip sliding away.

On the Skids

If you should wake up to a winter wonderland here are some of the things that you should know.

Prepare your Rig

With emergency supplies, warm blanket, water, snacks, some traction sand, a full tank of gas, a charger for your phone, etc.  You can find more extensive lists from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Traction is the name of the game

Without proper traction we lose control. So a set of tire chains, traction tires, or tire socks if your vehicle has low clearance.  Check here for specific details on traction notices from the Department of Transportation.

Be Sure To

  • Leave early, so that you do not need to rush.  
  • Leave a larger following distance
  • Give your brakes a break…Slamming on your brakes can cause you to lose what little traction your car has in snow and ice.  Instead try to anticipate times when you will need to stop and begin to slow down early, downshift gently, apply the brake with a feather like approach.
  • Do not pull out in front of oncoming traffic as they may not be able to stop.

Check for Road Closures

You will want check to see if there are any Road Closures in place.  While they try to keep closures up to date there may be emergency closures.

When in Doubt Stay Put

If for some reason you feel that the road conditions are simply too dangerous, stay safe and sound where you are.

There are many ways an experienced attorney can help you.

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Get Ready For Fall…

With the Arrival of Fall…

It is a really good time to take a minute to check your vehicle…

To ensure that it is prepared for winter driving.  Perhaps this is something you tackle yourself, or maybe you have a skilled person do this for you.  

Some of the things you will want to have looked into include:  Proper tire pressure and condition, your engine oil levels, coolant level and proper concentrations.  The condition of the battery and confirm that your Emergency Kit is well stocked.

Now is also good time to add important websites to your smart-phone…

Snohomish County Road Closure, Emergency Weather notifications, School Closures lists and the PUD Outage report numbers.

Take a look around your yard…

For items to store including your summer furniture and yard toys, or things in need of repair.

These steps can help insure that you are better prepared…

To take full advantage of Local Harvest time events including: Corn Maze, train rides, fall hikes, festivals, and more.

Here are a few websites where you can find more things to do:

Snohomish County Events Calendar

Everett Herald Community Calendar

Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins

There are many ways an experienced attorney can help you.

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Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

We are likely to remember  November’s storm for a long time with the intense wind and rain.  Causing so much devastation and loss for our region in the form of road closures, power outages, and damage from fallen trees.  Yet at the same time it was a time to see the great heroes among us.

Let there be light…

A special thank you goes out to all the PUD and Linemen who were out there around the clock to restore our power and reopen our roads. I was so thankful to see the power return to individuals all across the county. Thank you seems, at times, like a small thing to say for all those who make a real difference.

Lights, Sirens, Action…

We share the road with heroes.  They walk, drive and work among us.  Putting our needs ahead of their own.   Thank you to all of the first responders who are constantly on call to help at a moments’ notice, Dispatch, Firemen, Police, Sheriff, State Patrol, Ambulance, EMT’s, Nurses, Doctors, the list goes on. 

Right, Left, Right Left…

With that in mind be sure to yield to Emergency Vehicles.  If they are traveling in route to respond to an emergency move to the right and let them pass you and hurry onto the emergency.  Do this for them…Do this for you. You can get some serious tickets for not yielding to the right.  

If they have reached their destination  and are stopped along the right side of the road, be sure to slow down and change lanes to allow them to conduct their business without concern for their own safety.

Emergency zones are defined as the adjacent lanes of the roadway 200 feet before and after a stationary emergency vehicle with a siren or flashing lights, tow truck using red lights, emergency assistance vehicle using warning lights, or police vehicle using emergency lights. 
 

Do Not Cross…

The road closed signs are for our safety.  During the most recent storm I encountered two different types of signs along my travels.  

The penalty for crossing a Road Closed with the County Sheriff symbol is a misdemeanor, a Criminal offense, for those who drive around the sign.

The Road Closed to Thru Traffic is a warning to drivers that the normal route is obstructed.  So be sure to treat the roadway with caution, as you do not know when or where there is an obstruction.  

Here is a great resource for planning a trip that may include road closures.  Snohomish County road closure map

Live Wires…

Speaking of obstructions it is not safe to drive over downed power lines. Treat all power lines as if they are live with electricity.  While we like to get a charge out of life, the voltage contained in downed power lines is not the type to toy with.

And the Waters Came Up…

Do not drive into flooded roadways.  Water over the roadway is a sneaky thing, as it disguises the obstacles below the surface. It only takes 6 inches of water to get you into a dangerous situation, by floating your car, removing traction, or by hidden obstacles or road damage.  That does not even begin to cover the possible damage to your vehicle.

Use Good Sense…Look, Listen, Live

During the storm watch closely for falling trees and branches. Be aware that fallen branches may have sharp edges that can be a danger to your tires.  

It may be wise to  drive with your windows rolled down just a little, to allow you to listen to what is happening around you.  

Be aware of the changing smells around you.  Burning trees, leaking gas lines, etc.

Blown Away

Next time the Storms come in we hope that you will be better prepared and ready to rise to the challenge.

There are many ways an experienced attorney can help you.

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Prepared?

Prepared? Time to Take Stock

The weather change is always a good time to take stock and prepare for what if…

Having been stranded a time or two, I know how important it is to keep emergency supplies in the vehicle.  A flashlight, a flare or a blinking light, a tool kit, rain gear, blanket, snacks, and water can go a long way to making a difficult situation so much better.  

Flat Tire, Need an Iron…

Speaking from experience, it is wise to check that your tire iron is the correct size for all of the lug nuts on your vehicle. Occasionally they are not all the same size.

Scout It Out…

Don’t be overwhelmed by extensive lists.  You may already have items in your home that can be used to create an emergency kit in your home and in your vehicle.  As time goes by continue to add different pieces to your collection.  Assemble as much as you can  in a storage tub or tote bag that is easily accessible in the event of an emergency.

Here are some basic supplies that would help you get through an outage lasting three to five days:   

Three- to five-day supply of non-perishable food that needs little or no cooking
Blankets and pillows
Portable, battery-powered radio and clock
Flashlights
Extra batteries
Manual can opener, bottle opener, and utility knife
First-aid kit
Bottled water (minimum two quarts per person per day but preferably one gallon per person per day)
Candles
Matches in a waterproof container or a lighter
Cooler (and keep ice or ice packs ready in your freezer)
Personal hygiene, sanitary supplies
Cash (ATM’s and banks may not be available)
Pet supplies for three to five days
Playing cards, games, and books for entertainment
Prescription medications
Phone charger for a car

Out in the Cold…

For your safety keep the barbecue and the generators outside.   In the event of an outage, dress in layers to keep warm, gather in a central room in your home to conserve heat and resources.  Keep the doors closed to the fridge to keep the temperature cool inside.

Don’t Forget the Fun….

 We keep a supply of glow sticks, battery operated games, board games, books, arts and crafts to create by lantern light.  A metal teapot to boil water for hot Cocoa and Marshmallows for roasting on the grill.   

At Your Fingertips… 

Snohomish County Road Closure Map
King County Road Closures

If the Power Goes Out PUD

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Tips for Driving in Hot Weather

Tips for Driving in Hot Weather

Car Care

  • Battery- Extreme temperatures are hard on the battery system. So if your battery is up there in years, it might be a good opportunity to have it replaced, before the added heat stress causes it to fail to give your car the charge it needs.
  • Fluids- Are so important for maintaining your vehicle in a safe manner
  • Coolant- Your cars radiator is critical to the correct operating temperature of your engine. Refer to your owners manual for instructions. Do NOT open the cap of the radiator when the engine is hot.
  • Oil- Check your oil level as your engine must have the proper level of oil to keep each moving part humming right along.
  • Brakes- Pay attention as you brake to see if they are letting out unusual noises or if they have developed any shakes or surges that are out of the ordinary.
  • Windshield- Keep the glass clean to reduce reflections that could interfere with your driving. Windshield washers may not be very effective in removing some of the build up, so be prepared to pull over and wash the surface if needed.
  • Tire Pressure- When the rubber meets the road you may find that the heat changes your tires air pressure. If your tires are under inflated, they will be more prone to have a blow out… and those are no fun.
  • Tire Tread Condition can cause your traction to respond very differently when the asphalt is hot, some times the surface of the road becomes softer in this type of weather.
  • Air Circulation- Is critical for both you and your engine. Be sure to keep an eye on the engine temperature gauge on your dash. If it is rising to high you may need to pull over and turn off your car to allow your engine to cool. Another option is to draw heat out of engine compartment by turning on your interior heater.
  • Air Conditioner- Is most effective in cooling the passenger compartment when you have it set to recirculate the previously cooled air. Some times the Air Conditioner can put a big draw on the temperature of the Transmission when you are driving at higher altitudes.

Emergency Car Kit

  • Jumper cables
  • Extra Fluids for the vehicle.
  • Flares or caution cones.

People Care

  • No one left behind- people or pets as the temperature inside a vehicle can rise very quickly.
  • Water for all the living beings. Be sure to stay well hydrated.
  • Snacks are best if they are not heat sensitive.
  • Shade/ sun screen for when you are not in your vehicle.
  • Phone and charger.

Weird Tips

  • Alcohol based Sanitizer- Many of us are carrying a container in our vehicle. It may be wise to be sure that it is not in a place that is exposed to direct heat… as it can be flammable.
  • Clear Water bottles can act like a magnifying glass and should be kept out of direct sunlight to reduce flammable any properties.
  • Don’t Get Burned-by the asphalt, concrete or sand surfaces as you exit your vehicle, they retain heat even after they are shaded.

Wear your shades, take a break and rest often to stay at your most alert status for driving.

There are many ways an experienced attorney can help you.

Call us now

To ask additional questions or to hire an experienced attorney who has deep connections with the local legal system.

(425) 259 4972

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Motorcycles-Do’s and Don’ts

Motorcycles-Do’s and Don’ts  

Riding a Motorcycle is a great way to commute and enjoy our beautiful state. 

To Legally Ride in Washington State.  

You are required to obtain a motorcycle endorsement.  There are two endorsements to select from based on the features of the bike that you will be riding:  

  • 2-wheel motorcycle.
  • 3-wheel sidecar or trikes. 

Requirements for Motorcycles

  • If the engine is smaller than 50 cc and has a maximum speed of 30 mph you are not required to have an endorsement.  
  • If you have a 2-wheel motorcycle or scooter that has an engine larger than 50 cc or can exceed speeds of 30 mph you are required to have a 2-wheel motorcycle endorsement. 
  • You are required to have a 3-wheel endorsement if your 2-wheel motorcycle has a stabilizing conversion kit installed, if your motorcycle has a sidecar, or if your motorcycle is considered a 3-wheel trike.  

To Obtain an Endorsement.

You are required to successfully:

  • Complete a motorcycle safety course at a Washington State Department of Licensing approved motorcycle training school or,
  • Pass the knowledge and riding skills test at an approved motorcycle training school.  

It is illegal to ride a motorcycle without the proper endorsements or permits.

For additional information please check with Washington State Department of Licensing

Approved Motorcycle Helmets

Helmets are required to ride a motorcycle or motorcycle trike. They must be certified by the manufacturer as meeting the United States Department of Transportation standards outlined in 49 CFR 571.218.  

A helmet that meets the standards required by the Department of Transportation will have:

  • A sticker on the back 
  • Information on the inside of the helmet that includes manufacturer name, helmet model, and size.  

A traffic ticket may be issued If you ride a motorcycle or trike without an approved helmet.

There are many ways an experienced traffic attorney can fight your ticket for you.

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