The weather is changing, and it there is less daylight hours, with brings more challenges to driving in the region
The clocks changed. The weather changed.
Driving habits should change, too.
“The sun is going down quicker. We’re getting more hours of darkness. The rain has kicked in, too. We’re seeing more rainy days,” noted Jeff Anaya of the Vancouver Police Department. “Darkness is showing up at 4:30 in the afternoon. By the time you’re driving home, it’s almost pitch black. And we’re still seeing a lot of excessive speed.”
The word is out: Slow down. Keep your distance. Stay focused.
November’s emphasis for Target Zero is speed, low visibility, and risk factors. Target Zero is a statewide campaign with the goal to have zero deaths on state highways and roads by 2030. Law enforcement officials throughout Clark County take part in the campaign, hoping to educate drivers while also enforcing the law.
Anaya said that fatalities on the roadways are down just a bit from last year, but last year was one of the worst in recent history. It is frustrating for law enforcement and other first responders to see so many drivers traveling 15, 20, or even more miles per hour over the speed limit.
Those dangerous habits are worse now after the big changes: Daylight Savings Time to Daylight Standard Time comes about the time the rain returns and foggy conditions roll in to the region.
To law enforcement officials, it is a simple equation. Just about everything associated with operating a vehicle becomes more of a challenge in the fall and winter months.
“With more speed, you have a decrease in reaction time,” Anaya said. “When you crash, you’re going to do more damage because you’re carrying more energy, more momentum behind you. With the low visibility, with darkness coming so early, you’ll have slower reaction time. You’re going to see things later.
“And then we’ve got our wet roadways. Your stopping distance is going to increase because you’re going to slide farther,” Anaya added. “The roadway is going to be slicker. You’re not going to stop as well as you would on a dry surface.”
Among the risk factors that law enforcement officers are on the look out for is following too close. That is illegal at any time of the year, but is more dangerous in the fall and winter months — for the reasons already stated.
Anaya has seen the horrific effects of crashes.
“The on-scene stuff, it hits hard because it’s real,” Anaya said. “You’re seeing that person’s life is no longer here.”
Even more difficult for Anaya, though, is notifying a family member that a person has died. He has been on the receiving end of that notification, as well.
“I know what they’re going through,” Anaya said. “For me, that’s the hardest part.”
Target Zero, Anaya, and first responders are hoping drivers follow their advice: Slow down, keep your distance, and stay focused during challenging driving situations.
- Opinion: WA Cares is a lump of coal in workers’ stockingsElizabeth Hovde of the Washington Policy Center, says about WA Cares: ‘there is nothing merry about taking from the poor to give to those who have more.
- Gov’s Office downplays former state economist’s claim of pressure to lie about gas pricesThe Governor’s Office has preliminary, tentative findings regarding a former state economist who says he had to resign after suffering retaliation for his analysis that Washington’s cap-and-trade policy would significantly increase gas prices.
- Opinion: Power is Prosperity – The battle for the LSR damsIn her weekly column, Nancy Churchill applies the ‘prosperity principle’ to Washington state’s Columbia River Basin issue.
- CCSO provides additional information on Sunday’s murder-suicideThe Clark County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit continues its investigation of Sunday’s murder-suicide in Orchards that led to the deaths of five family members.
- Washington public college enrollment lowest since 2014Washington state’s public universities are at their lowest combined levels of enrollment since 2014, according to state data.
- Journey Theater presents The Wizard of OzThe story of Dorothy traveling to the Land of Oz will be told by Journey Theater’s performance of the Wizard of Oz, with six shows, starting with opening night on Friday, Dec. 8.
- Re-Imagined Radio celebrates the holidays with live and broadcast episodesIt’s Vancouver’s own Christmas classic: “A Radio Christmas Carol,” offered by Re-Imagined Radio every year since 2013.