South Lake Tahoe snowfall sees rush of crashes
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — As the black roadways began to turn white Tuesday afternoon and the persistent snow kept falling on the South Lake Tahoe ground, the calls for emergency help began crowding scanner traffic and sirens began sounding around the city.
Within little more than an hour, three car crashes had caused at least considerable damage to vehicles and several more calls reported vehicles driving out of control in the snow covered slippery roadways, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Jeff Gartner said Friday.
Only one person reported injury, limited to complaint of pain, during the roughly hour-long weather-related car crash rush, Gartner said.
The snowfall came during a day when the National Weather Service predicted showers throughout the day with some snowfall – but none sticking.
The main problem during early hours of snowfall and the first signs of snow sticking to the roadway is that drivers often don’t adjust to the changing driving situations, Gartner said. Many drivers fail to identify that the roadway surface is changing and they do not slow their driving speed. Eventually, many of those drivers lose control and end up in a crash.
On Tuesday, the CHP responded to crashes with some vehicle damage at the area of Sawmill Road and Lake Tahoe Boulevard at 3:10 p.m., at the area of Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Upper Truckee Road also at 3:10 p.m. and at Highway 89 near Vikingsholm at 4:15 p.m.
When the roadway begins to get covered in snow, everything takes longer and more effort, including accelerating, stopping and turning, according to a AAA tip sheet.
The normal dry pavement following distance of three-to-four seconds should be increased to eight-to-10 seconds, according to AAA.
Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads causes wheels to spin without much movement. When reaching the crest of a hill, drivers should reduce speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
Alternatively, people should stay home when possible.
Still, there is one rule, as mentioned before, that is essential, Gartner said. “People need to remember to slow down.”