Some stretches of road and intersections are more dangerous than others in Southwest Riverside County, especially when it’s raining and during commute times.
Many motorists have had the dicey experience of trying to merge on or off a congested freeway ramp or navigate through a treacherous intersection.
“I avoid the Winchester off-ramp on I-15 at all costs,” Temecula resident Amy Garza said. “I actually got off there on accident the other day and just about cried.”
The California Highway Patrol reports that driver error is almost always the cause of collisions and not the physical construction of the road or poor weather conditions.
“During the seasons that experience a significant rainfall, the CHP sees an increase in traffic collisions,” Calilfornia Highway Patrol spokesperson Sylvia Vargas said. “This is due to lack of attention to roadway conditions as well as inattention to vehicle maintenance.”
She stressed the importance of making sure tires are in good condition with plenty of tread, sufficient brake pads and leaving enough room in between other vehicles are crucial factors to safe driving, especially in inclement weather.
She said that although driver error is almost always the cause of auto accidents, there are certain areas in Riverside County that see more collisions than most.
“In the past couple of years the Riverside area has had unfortunate collisions on Cajalco Road near La Sierra Avenue,” Vargas said. “A great majority of the time these collisions are caused by excessive speed.”
She added that other heavily congested and accident-prone areas are the SR 91 eastbound Riverside interchange and the I-215 southbound near Blaine Street during commute times.
The storm that recently doused southern California brought with it a high number of accidents including this one in Temecula.
“We have all been a witness to the fact that collisions occur anytime of the day and weather conditions. You will find that most high speed collisions will occur during the hours of darkness,” Vargas explained. “We experience the majority of rear end collisions during commuting hours.”
Vargas offered several tips that drivers can do to avoid getting in an accident and keeping safe on the roads anytime of the day and during any season.
- “Slow down.” Your speed will only make it more dangerous for you in the long run. Don’t worry that your speed will get you a ticket, be concerned if you will survive that high speed collision.”
- “Keep an eye on the road.” Pay attention to your surroundings. You may not be the only vehicle trying to make a lane change.
- “Avoid Distractions in the vehicle.” Keep your hand held cell phones, MP3′s, food & drink out of the driving process. These things will just prove to be a distraction and possibly cause a collision or traffic violation.
- “Be Patient.” Don’t rush yourself into a precarious situation. If that lane change that you are about to make seems a bit risky, don’t make it.
- “Plan your route ahead of time, as well as a possible detour.” Motorists become complacent when they drive the same commute route.
Stephanie D. Schulte is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.