Weather can create dangerous road conditions

It was a dark, rainy night three months ago. He was upset and angry as he sped down Libby Lane in his Ford F-150. A sharp corner approached, but the only thought on his mind was to get home and let the day come to an end. He rounded the corner, speeding along at 65-70 miles per hour, and to his dismay, he realized he was driving too fast. The car was no match for the rain slicked road, and it suddenly spun around and slammed into the bank. There was a loud smashing sound as the car collided into the bank, followed by a hissing as the engine died. He could only hear the pattering of the rain.

Senior Daniel Tryon walked away, but not without damage to both his body and his truck.

“I went around the corner too fast while it was raining and I paid the price,” Tryon said. “I still feel pain from the crash in my neck, back and shoulders.”

This was one of two crashes Tryon has been involved in, where weather inhibited his driving abilities.

According to the American Institute of Physics, weather induced crashes are common. Approximately 25 percent of accidents are caused by poor weather conditions.

“The rain and ice are very dangerous,” Tryon said. “Both my accidents have involved bad weather.”
Coos Bay Police Sergeant Hugo Hatzel agrees weather can be very dangerous and said he has seen many crashes in the early mornings when there is ice on the roads.

“If we have a cold morning, we definitely will get some crashes,” Hatzel said.

Hatzel said individuals who drive slower are more aware of other drivers on the road and are less likely to be involved in accidents.

“Many times accidents will happen because of other vehicles,” Hatzel said. “You have to be aware of other drivers because they may slip on a patch of ice and slide into you.”
Oregon State Police Trooper Tiffany Crutchfield agrees with Hatzel about the dangers of driving on ice. She believes many individuals are not careful enough when they drive on ice or in the rain. Crutchfield said the biggest issue people need to be aware of is slick spots on the road.

“You can be driving down a dry road and all of a sudden go around a corner that hasn’t warmed up yet,” Crutchfield said. “That is where the problems happen.”

Crutchfield also said people may not be aware of how water on the road could cause a car to hydroplane. She said it is very easy for a car to lose control because of a simple puddle.

“You need to avoid the puddles on the road because they could cause your car to hydroplane,” Crutchfield said. “Just slow down because it isn’t worth a crash. The slower you go the safer you will be.”

Tryon has not been as lucky as some drivers, such as junior Sierra Pedro.  Pedro said her mom always tells her to drive slowly when the weather is bad, which helps remind her.

“My mom will tell me to be careful when it is icy out,” Pedro said.

Pedro and Tryon can attest to the dangers of driving in bad weather. Tryon said he wants everyone to know how important it is to be careful on the road.

“Be careful and drive slowly because it isn’t worth putting your life or anyone else’s at risk,” Tryon said.