While putting on chains, two men were seriously injured on Saturday, Dec. 15 when they were struck by two vehicles that slid out of control on the snowy roadway, according to the Washington State Patrol.
A three-vehicle collision occurred on westbound Interstate 90 several miles east of North Bend near exit 38, just before 4 pm.
WSP State Trooper Julie Judson said a Toyota Corolla pulled onto the right shoulder to add chains as roadway conditions worsened. A blue 4 wheel drive Toyota pickup truck, driven by a 33 year old man from Kenmore, was traveling west in the left lane when it lost control and struck the driver’s side of black Honda Pilot traveling in the right lane. Both vehicles were stuck together as they slid to the right shoulder where the two male passengers from the Corolla, a 20 year old from Burien and a 22 year old from Seattle, were putting chains on the Toyota.
Both men were struck and seriously injured.
During the investigation of the collision it was discovered that the pickup truck that lost control had 4 wheel drive capabilities, but was only in 2 wheel drive at the time of the collision. That area of westbound Interstate 90 was past any traction tire restriction, but the roadway in the area was covered in snow. The Corolla had minor damage from the vehicle contact and no other injuries were reported in the collision. All vehicles were drivable following the collision.
"Far too often collisions occur that kill or cause serious injury in which speed too fast for the conditions of the roadway is the main cause," said WSP Trooper Judson. "Although many times applying chains is merely frustrating and cold, this type of unfortunate circumstance can happen to anyone"
Here's some tips from the State Patrol that may decrease the likelihood of collisions and injuries in winter driving conditions:
- Don’t ASSUME roadway conditions will improve because you have left a traction tire restricted area.
- Slow Down! Speed is the leading cause of losing control in adverse weather conditions.
- Things happen fast. If your outside your car be alert and give yourself a place to run if needed.
- Apply safety chains in designated “Chain-up” areas that are wider keeping vehicles further from traffic.
- Take an exit if needed to find a safe location to add chains away from traffic.
- Don’t be overconfident in your vehicles abilities – 4 wheel drive and chained vehicles crash in poor weather too. Know when to use your chains and 4 wheel drive.
- Have emergency supplies in case you need to wait in your car for help.
Divide your attention – watching for traffic may save your life.
(Ed. Note: Information provided by a Washington State Patrol press release.)