With continued freezing temperatures causing slick roads, and predictions of more snow in the forecast, Edmonds police have some safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians.
Police have been busy responding to traffic-related calls, said Acting Assistant Chief Shane Hawley. “On the first day after the snowfall (Sunday), we had 11 reported collisions between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” although it’s likely that many others went unreported. There were a combined 40 “traffic complaint” calls Sunday and Monday — the majority for “blocking (stuck) vehicles, reports of icy roads or other traffic-related concerns,” Hawley said.
“It is unusual for the temperatures to stay this cold, for this long,” Hawley added. “Ice is a huge concern moving forward and more snow is forecast this week.”
His advice? “Stay off the roads unless you really need to go out. If you do need to travel, plan your route ahead of time. The main arterial roadways tend to get more attention from the snow plows. Try to stick to them as much as possible, even if it takes you out of your way. Think ahead about hills along your route. Again, you may need to change up your normal route to avoid them.”
All-wheel drive, Hawley added, “is not guarantee that you won’t lose traction or end up in a bad spot. It helps, but you still need to slow down and take it easy. Increase your following distances greatly and start slowing down for intersections well in advance. Having really good snow tires is every bit as important as all-wheel drive. Your tires are the first part of the traction equation.”
The police spokesperson also had advice for pedestrians trying to navigate icy sidewalks and roadways. “It’s important to be mindful that every car around you is not operating at its best,” Hawley said. “They have reduced traction, can’t stop as quickly and depending on the conditions, the driver likely has reduced visibility. It’s better to wait for cars to go, instead of crossing in front of them if possible.”
Snohomish County Public Works, which provides maintenance for unincorporated county roads, also had some helpful tips:
– Residents who shovel their driveway should move the snow to the left when looking at their home from the street and keep the snow out of the road if possible. This helps the snowplows avoid pushing the material back into the driveways.
– Before heading out, check their travel routes and options. For those venturing through unincorporated Snohomish County, visit the Public Works Snow and Ice webpage for road closure information and more. The county’s new snow removal and anti-icing map shows which routes are primary and secondary and allows residents to see what county roads have been recently plowed, sanded or had anti-icing applied.
(Edmonds residents can check the city’s priority snow maps here.)
– Give snowplows and deicer equipment plenty of room to work. Allow for a minimum following distance of 200 feet.
– If you must pass, take extreme caution and beware of the displaced snow and ice, or sand spray.
– Vehicles parked along all major arterials and emergency routes must be moved off the street. Those vehicles left in the travel lane of a roadway and blocking traffic may be towed at the owner’s expense. It is recommended for vehicles to be moved when snow is in the forecast. Parking vehicles in the driveway and off the road helps the snowplows finish routes more quickly and efficiently.
– Keep drainage inlets near your home clear of leaves and debris during the winter months to help reduce the chance of flooding.
– Try to keep garbage bins and other obstacles out of the street when the roads are icy or covered with snow.
– Obey road closed signs.