Washington State Patrol figures confirm what many motorists witnessed over a weekend of heavy snow: lots of fender benders and crashes.
Collisions this past weekend on state and interstate routes in King County were up 300% when compared to two weekends ago, Trooper Rick Johnson said.
“These are all preventable. My message is stay home, and if you have to travel, travel slow. That’s what I told my son. He and his wife had a baby and were coming home from the hospital, driving on slush. ‘Go as slow as you want,’ I told him,” he said.
Don’t think that rigged-up SUV will make driving on snow easier.
“These all-wheel drives and four-wheel drives give a false sense of security. If the road is slippery, it doesn’t make you stop any faster. Conditions don’t care if you have a 42-wheel drive,” Johnson said.
The cold facts are that two weekends ago, Friday through Monday, troopers responded to 96 collisions. During the same time this weekend, it was 386 collisions, Johnson said.
A collision Friday between two semis traveling north on I-405 near Coal Creek was likely the result of such an encounter in which one driver rolled up close, trying to push another driver to speed up. That collision resulted in a 1.5-mile back up.
And if you thought Eastern Washington drivers more used to winter driving would do better, think again.
Since the start of snowfall on Friday, there were 66 collisions near Yakima, 65 at Sunnyside/Grandview, 266 in the Tri-Cities and 23 in Walla Walla, for a total of 420 crashes, Trooper Chris Thorson said Monday.
“Speed has been the main factor,” he said.
For the next time a snowpocalypse hits Seattle, the state’s Department of Transportation has a web page devoted to tips on winter driving.
Of course, you actually have to read it.