Tri-Cities drivers may be stuck with more rain this week, and Washington State Patrol troopers want to make sure they aren’t stuck in a wreck.
Rainfall levels have almost doubled in the area since last year. October’s total rainfall in Pasco was 1.39 inches as of Oct. 20 and 1.14 inches in Kennewick as of Oct. 21, said Ann Adams, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Pendleton.
Pasco had 0.65 inches of rainfall in October 2015. Kennewick had 0.60 inches.
Record rainfall levels were reported Oct. 9. State troopers saw several wrecks, including four in a two-hour period, related to reckless driving in the weather conditions.
Rain is expected throughout the area at times this week.
Driving in wet, snowy or frozen conditions can cause drivers to lose control of their car or slide off the road, said state patrol Trooper Chris Thorson.
Feel free to slow down, as long as you’re not impeding traffic in the left lane.
Chris Thorson, Washington State Patrol trooper
Slowing down for the conditions is the biggest key, Thorson said. Highway drivers who want to go 65 to 70 mph should keep to the left lanes.
“Feel free to slow down, as long as you’re not impeding traffic or in the left lane,” Thorson said.
A motorcycle rider lost control of his 2009 Yamaha TW200 on Highway 240 about 9:30 p.m. Oct. 9. He was going too fast for the turn with the road conditions, state patrol troopers said.
The amount of friction between tires and the road can easily change based on weather conditions, even if there’s not much water on the road, Thorson said.
“When your tires are on the pavement and it’s dry, you’re going to have maximum friction between your tires and the pavement,” Thorson said.
Two more wrecks happened on Interstate 82 in the same hour, followed by another crash on Interstate 182 about 11:30 p.m., the state patrol said.
On Oct. 13, a driver rolled his Honda Civic during a rainy afternoon. The car landed upside down in the median at the Columbia Center Boulevard overpass.
If it’s really coming down, Thorson says drivers should increase their following distance, since cars take longer to brake in the rain.
When it’s dark outside, drivers should turn their headlights on — even during the day. Tires should be changed as soon as there’s a visible cord, Thorson said.