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Early Season Rains Bring Multiple Fatalities and Traffic Collisions to Mendocino County Roadways

[Stock image from Pixabay.com]

Monday’s afternoon rainfall reminded Mendocino County residents of the inherent risks of our roadways after two separate collisions resulted in two fatalities along with multiple relatively minor collisions and road delays.

California Highway Patrol’s Public Information Officer Olegario Marin provided a list of the notable incidents that occurred during Monday’s inclement weather:

  • 3:16 p.m.-A non-injury, solo vehicle collision caused property damage on Spring Valley Road in Potter Valley.
  • 3:53 p.m.-A solo vehicle accident on Highway 1 north of Albion resulted in the death of a 39-year-old Ukiah man after his Dodge truck veered off the roadway, rolling multiple times, causing the vehicle to light on fire and come to rest on its roof.
  • 3:56 p.m.-Two vehicles collided on Highway 175 east of Hopland resulting in minor injuries.
  • 4:11 p.m.- A Dodge truck driven by a 38-year-old Willits man collided head-on with a box truck causing the closure of Highway 20 until approximately 8:00 p.m. The resulting closure caused a significant amount of commuters to seek the alternative route of Highway 175 which was later clogged with the influx of drivers.

Both of the drivers who died on Monday afternoon within 20 minutes of each other were from inland Mendocino County, in their thirties, and were reportedly not wearing seatbelts, as per two separate press releases issued by the CHP.

Officer Marin told us, “Regardless of weather conditions, many crashes result from driving too fast.  It’s a simple matter of physics that your vehicle cannot stop as fast or turn as accurately on wet, snowy, or icy pavement.”

​​Rainfall totals from around the county varied. Fort Bragg on the Mendocino County coast received .39″, Laytonville received .15″, and Hopland received .14″. 

Though not a seemingly significant amount of rainfall, it is important to remember that “road pavements are the most slippery when it first starts to rain or snow because oil and dust have not yet washed away,” as described by the California Department of Motor Vehicles handbook.

Inclement weather brings a multitude of factors that create hazards such as “the possibility of decreased visibility in foggy, rainy or snowy conditions,” Officer Marin explained. In cases of decreased visibility, Officer Marin suggested drivers, “keep headlights on low beam, don’t stop on the roadway, look for and move away from stalled or disabled vehicles and watch for emergency personnel which may be escorting and guiding traffic through inclement weather.”

Other safety tips Officer Marin suggested including leaving plenty of space between each vehicle because on slick roadways “stopping distance increase exponentially.” Residents are encouraged to, “leave early to allow for delays and avoid unwanted stress.”

Commuters can always check roadway conditions for incidents and closures by calling 1-800-427-7623 or online by visiting the CalTrans QuickMap for real-time updates on road conditions.

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  1. 🙏 I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Pray. I recommend praying to God, The Creator of ALL things, in the name of His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. Why? Because it is the Bible way and all scripture is breathed of God. It’s God’s instruction manual. And we need it now more than ever! And please pray on the road. I am not sure if this is still a true statistic today, but I saw it years ago, that most traffic accidents happen within 20 miles of a persons home or destination.

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