Driving in the Pacific Northwest

Common Hazards to Avoid When Driving through the Pacific Northwest

Driving through the Pacific Northwest is something that everyone should experience in their lifetime. From the Redwoods to the drive on the coast and everything in between, there is so much to see, do, and experience.

However, while the Pacific Northwest may be extremely beautiful, it can also pose some dangers to you while you’re driving, which is why it’s extremely important that you understand the common hazards to avoid in order to keep you and your car safe.


It’s very important to remember that you are not going to be traveling on a major four- or six-lane highway when driving through the Pacific Northwest. Instead, you’ll likely be traveling on a two-lane highway that has plenty of curves and hills. Because of this, it’s extremely important that you constantly pay attention to what you’re doing and where you are going. Make sure that you stick with the listed speed limit to ensure you don’t go too fast while hitting a hill or curve. It’s also very important that you minimize distracted driving, so put someone else in charge of the radio, the GPS, or the picture-taking.


There are many different roads you can take while on your trip, but it’s important to remember that you will experience hills and sharp turns, which is why you want to make sure that your car is in optimal working condition before you leave. Make sure your oil is changed, your brakes work properly, you have enough steering wheel fluid, and that your car can handle the uneven terrain. You don’t need to experience a breakdown while on vacation and then spend all your vacation money on auto repair.

It’s also a good idea to remember that you can spend an entire day (or more) driving through the Pacific Northwest, so be sure you pack your car appropriately. Bring some snacks and some water, but also have an emergency kit on hand just in case. While you hope you don’t use it, it’s always better to be prepared for an accident or incidental. Items such as a blanket, can opener, water, flashlight, etc. can help in case of an emergency.


Because there is so much to do and/or see while traveling the Pacific Northwest, you should also take some time to plan out your trip accordingly. It’s easy to get distracted looking at the trees, the coast, or the other scenery. If you truly want to take it all in, there are plenty of designated rest areas along the highways where you can stop and safely enjoy the view. Make sure you locate these areas, and use this time to whip out your camera and enjoy what the Northwest has to offer.


The Pacific Northwest is home to many living creatures, and interrupting natural life is not something those states want to do. Because of this, many of the scenic highways you will drive will not have lights, which means that night driving can be a little bit trickier than it would be during the day. If you don’t like driving at night, then it’s best to avoid these areas and only drive them during the day. If you are driving at night, make sure that you use your high-beams on and that you drive slowly so that you don’t miss any sharp turns.


The weather in the Pacific Northwest varies. Depending on where exactly you are and when you’re traveling, you can experience everything from sunny skies and warm weather to rain to snow. This is why it’s extremely important that you take the right precautions while you’re driving (such as driving slow, using your windshield wipers, keeping a good distance away from the car in front of you, etc.). The last thing you want to do is get into a fender-bender while on vacation because you were unprepared for the weather.