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Rain, slick roadways cause traffic havoc

December 7, 2009 12:42:24 AM PST
It's been a rough commute across the Southland Monday. The California Highway Patrol said there were 132 incident reports between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., three times the number reported just a week ago."Always when it rains for the first time in a while, people get a little crazy," said motorist Randin Kasperak. "I drive carefully every day."

A vehicle flew 300 feet down the side of Malibu Canyon Road at about 7:20 a.m. Firefighters expected the worst as they responded to the accident two miles north of Pacific Coast Highway, and even called for air rescue. The car flipped several times as it went down the cliff, but the driver suffered only minor injuries.

Malibu Canyon Road was shut down during the rescue effort. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

In Santa Clarita a big-rig jackknifed in wet road conditions on the southbound Interstate 5 Freeway. It crashed though a guardrail. Apparently the driver lost control of the vehicle as it hydroplaned over the road surface.

"You only need about half an inch, a quarter-inch, of water for your tires to be riding on the water instead of the pavement," said CHP Officer Heather Hoglund.

A delivery truck overturned on the 110 Freeway, causing traffic to backup for several miles.

Many drivers said they gave themselves extra time because they expected the rain-related delays.

"We have to use a lot more caution in this kind of weather naturally," said motorist Jim Smith. "If you go fast, you're asking for trouble."

It's the first major storm of the season. The CHP says oil and debris on the road floats to the surface making it very slippery. Monday afternoon, there were several accidents including one on the 210 Freeway in Pasadena. The car spun out and hit the embankment. The CHP says the outer edges of the roads are the most dangerous.

"The roadways are designed to slope, so the higher points of the roadway will be the middle of the roadway, and then it slopes so that the water does run off, so it can go into the drains," said Hoglund. "So if water is going to pool, it's going to pool near those shoulders."

The CHP says drivers simply need to slow down. Also, be reminded that it's the law to have your headlights on if you're driving with windshield-wipers activated.


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