The Washington State Patrol reported that the Friday snow storm that hit Sunnyside, Walla Walla, Tri-Cities, and Yakima Valley caused 216 traffic accidents. At least one of the victims was a WSP trooper.
Officials reported that the trooper was traveling on Interstate 182 near Road 68 in Pasco when the accident happened. He was injured and was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. Thankfully, his injuries were not life-threatening, officials added.
In light of Friday’s snow, officials issued a weather advisory for the weekend and alerted residents that heavier snow falls were forecast through Saturday. Due to the weather conditions, Washington State Department of Transportation personnel were hard at work clearing the snow and trying to prevent ice on the roads. However, drivers were told to assume that due to the snowfall, roads weren’t safe for travel.
Following the hundreds of accidents, law enforcement reminded drivers that roads are slippery and that, in some regions, accumulated snow might make travel especially difficult.
WA Data Shows Ice & Snow Remain Deadly For Drivers
According to regulators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4.6% of all deadly traffic deaths in Washington are related to ice or snow. While that might not sound like much, it is important to remember that freezing conditions only impact the Evergreen state during a small portion of the year, meaning that a considerable number of deadly accidents are happening during wintertime.
Additionally, federal officials found that young drivers across the country are the most likely to be involved in a fatal snow or ice-related accident.
Between 2014 and 2018, drivers under the age of 21 have been the age group more commonly associated with fatal snow-related accidents. As a matter of fact, the fatality rate among the younger age group during that period was almost twice the fatality rate of the 75 and up age group, which are the second group of drivers most likely to crash while winter driving.
If you are a young driver in Washington and you’re not confident you can manage severe winter driving on your own, switch places with a more experienced driver or, if possible, postpone your trip.
For more on the accidents caused by the severe weather, follow this link.