Thursday, 30 May 2024

With weather change comes collisions; CHP warns of need to slow down

LAKE COUNTY – The much-needed rain that arrived around the county on Friday made roadways slick and likely contributed to a series of vehicle collisions that continued to occur throughout the day and into the night. {sidebar id=100}

The California Highway Patrol on Friday issued a reminder to county residents that the first major rain of the fall season was making area roadways extremely slippery.

The cause of the slick conditions, according to a report by CHP Officer Adam Garcia, is a film of oil that accumulates on the roadway and rises when the rains begin to fall – creating a “slip and slide effect.”

From noon to midnight there were six collisions reported along Highway 20, with at least one of them resulting in minor injuries. Another on Highway 29 shortly after 2:30 p.m. involved two vehicles and resulted in minor injuries, while no injuries were reported in a crash involving two vehicles on Highway 175 at Cobb Elementary.

Shortly before 11 p.m. a vehicle was reported having crashed into a ditch on Soda Bay Road just west of Park and was on fire. Rocks also were reported in the roadway on Highway 29 just north of the Coyote Grade.

Garcia's report explained that vehicle control rests on four little contact points where your tires touch the pavement.

If rainwater builds up between tire and road, traction is broken and results in hydroplaning, which is what happens when the tread "channels" on the tire cannot conduct all the water from between the tire and the road. That forces the tire to ride on top of the water that's in between, like surfing, according to Garcia.

Hydroplaning's risk increases along with speed; it doesn't usually occur at speeds below 35 miles per hour, Garcia reported.

Many crashes are caused by driving too fast for current conditions, so when rain or snow arrive, Garcia said the first thing to do is slow down. Reduce your speed by a third in the rain and by at least half in the snow, and more if ice is present. It's also important to slow down if you encounter fog.

The importance of adjusting one's driving to weather conditions can be a matter of life and death.

CHP statistics show that last year in California 106 people were killed in collisions that occurred in rainy, snowy or foggy conditions.

More than 7,696 people were injured in crashes under similar weather conditions, according to the CHP.

The National Weather Service reports that the unseasonably strong low pressure system that brought rain to Northern California on Friday is expected to result in showers on Saturday morning, with the likelihood of rain expected to decrease as the day advances.

The weather is expected to clear by Sunday, with some clouds but no rain forecast next week, the National Weather Service reported.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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