PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Fire District No. 2 firefighters have responded to more than six wrecks in the past couple of weeks, many caused by people driving incorrectly for winter conditions, said Assistant Chief Mike DeRousie.
“Every accident I have been out on — the last six — shouldn’t have happened,” he said Tuesday as snow fell in Port Angeles. “If they just slowed down, we wouldn’t have gone to any of these.”
Responders were called out to a truck in a ditch on state Highway 112 at the Elwha River on Tuesday morning, he said.
Throughout the weekend, two trucks rolled into a ditch at the same spot on West Edgewood Drive on different days.
A semi-truck jackknifed early Monday morning on U.S. Highway 101 near the Elwha River bridge.
“If you don’t have to be anywhere, don’t go out on the roads,” DeRousie said. “If you do have somewhere to be at a certain time, drive slower.”
He said road conditions have been treacherous in many areas and that drivers can expect plenty more winter weather before things warm up.
DeRousie is urging drivers to use main roads as often as possible because side roads aren’t maintained.
“Wherever it’s real shady, those are going to be the spots that are potentially slick areas,” he said, adding to watch for signs of ice crystals reflecting on the road surface.
The state Department of Transportation only has 14 employees working the state highways from Lake Crescent to the Hood Canal Bridge, including the areas in Port Townsend, Fort Flagler, Sequim, Port Angeles, Lake Sutherland and Joyce, DeRousie said.
“Crews treat roadways, and sometimes within only a few hours, the weather changes and rains can wash away treatment solutions only to freeze again in a short time,” he said.
As of recently, there have been no wrecks in East Jefferson County attributable to snow or ice, said Bill Beezley, spokesman for East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.
“We haven’t had any snow at all,” he said.
National Weather Service meteorologists say the rest of the week will be chilly, with lows at night getter into the lower or mid-20s.
The North Olympic Peninsula could see highs in the mid- to upper 30s during the day before things warm up over the weekend, said Chris Burke, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Seattle.
The weather service did not have snow reports for the Olympic Peninsula, he said.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].