Thursday morning commute tricky, Friday night could be too - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Thursday morning commute tricky, Friday night could be too

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  • Sheriff urging safe winter driving

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    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - For many Spokane-area commuters Monday, the first taste of winter driving conditions was a bitter one.>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - For many Spokane-area commuters Monday, the first taste of winter driving conditions was a bitter one. By noon, area law enforcement agencies had recorded nearly 30 crashes and slide-offs, many caused by motorists failing to recognize that roadways had been slickened by rain and fog that froze to roadway surfaces overnight.>>

SPOKANE, Wash. - Thursday morning was dangerous for drivers on area roads as thick and freezing fog coupled with high speeds led to a number of collisions.

Following their busy Thursday morning, law enforcement officers would like to, once again, remind you to slow down as excessive speed for conditions was a factor in a number of accidents.

Further emphasizing safe driving is Friday's anticipated snow fall. At least two collisions Thursday were a result of freezing fog or black ice and the snow has the potential to make conditions equally dangerous, though the snow will affect the Friday evening commute rather than the morning.

In one collision on Highway 195 Thursday morning, the driver of a Volkswagen was heading north when he slid on freezing fog, lost control of his car, hit a barrier and rolled.

Story continues below...

Cynthia Farrington was trapped in her car for hours after hitting a patch of black ice and rolling her vehicle west of Highway 395.

The man was able to make it out of his car where he found himself in the path of an out of control pickup truck that had flipped over the barrier and into oncoming traffic.

The driver of the VW was able to safely dive over a guardrail and into a ditch to avoid being struck by the pickup.

Neither driver was injured, but Washington State Patrol troopers are using the collision as a warning to drivers to slow down.

In a separate crash, a woman was on her way to work when she hit a patch of black ice just west of Highway 395 in Medical Lake causing her car to roll.

The woman was trapped in her car for two hours before someone found her and another hour after that while emergency crews pried open her car so she could safely get out. She was eventually cited by WSP for driving too fast for conditions.

Monday, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office issue tips to help ensure you make it from A to B this winter driving season:

  • Make sure that your windshield wipers are intact and functional, and top off your windshield fluid reservoir so you can effectively wash away road spray and grime tossed up by other vehicles
  • Lighting is important. Make sure your head, brake and taillights are all operational, and then use them. Three p.m. on a rainy December day is not too early to use your headlights to see and be seen
  • Check out your tires and replace them if they are worn or damaged. Good traction can help you drive out of a bad situation as much as brakes can slow you before you enter one
  • Then perform a head check -- in other words, is your thinking and attitude where it needs to be to safely navigate winter roads
  • Remember that speed limits are determined for best-possible road conditions. In winter driving conditions, you must reduce your speed and increase your following distances
  • Be a courteous driver – what goes around, comes around
  • Last but not least, use your seat and shoulder belts religiously. They make the difference between one-car, roll-over, non-injury collision and one that is a fatality
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