Drivers warned to go slow, beware ice during evening commute

  • Wed Jan 18th, 2012 4:34pm
  • News

By Diana Hefley, Eric Stevick and Rikki King Herald Writers

Transportation officials are advising evening commuters to watch out for black ice and slick conditions as temperatures drop and water and slush on the road freezes. Additionally, lighter than normal traffic did little to help warm up the roads and melt the snow that fell throughout the day, said Travis Phelps, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Before the major accumulation of snow, state transportation crews treated roads in an effort to keep snow and ice from sticking. By late Wednesday morning, they’d switched over to spreading salt and sand to break up any compact snow and ice that formed.

The Washington State Patrol already has seen at least two crashes in north Snohomish County related to slick roads, trooper Keith Leary said.

“The biggest thing is don’t let your confidence overtake your driving skill,” Leary said. “When you see those (two dark tire) tracks through the snow, don’t think it’s wet pavement because it’s ice.”

Troopers remind drivers to go slow, even on the freeways, and to leave plenty of room between yourself and vehicles in front of you. Turning headlights on also increases the ability of other drivers to see you. And if you slide out on the freeway, after calling for help, often the safest place to wait is inside your vehicle.

In east Snohomish County, several residential areas already were becoming impassable on Wednesday afternoon, fire officials said. Some roads were closed due to dangerous conditions, such as downed trees and power lines.

The Marysville area saw less snowfall than on Tuesday, but many roads are frozen or near-frozen, Fire Marshal Tom Maloney said. Drivers were advised to take it slow, even if they have four-wheel drive.

For the latest road conditions, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov.