Updated 9:45 a.m.: The Richardson Highway from Eielson Air Force Base to Shaw Creek is covered with black ice, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation. Drivers are urged to use extreme caution if traveling in the area.
FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks drivers were having a difficult time adjusting to winter driving Monday, based on reports of crashes.
Sgt. Greg Foster with the Fairbanks police was busy responding to scenes of crashes Monday evening and said he had heard of three rollovers, two fender-bender type collisions and “numerous” vehicles in the ditches from the city police department and reports from other law enforcement agencies. The city had two reports of injuries from crashes, he said.
A spike in crashes is common this time of year, he said.
“The moment the snow flies and we get these icy conditions, we need to start driving with winter driving habits,” he said. “We need to give more time for daily commute.”
Good habits include allowing a 6-to-10-second following time between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, and determining a safe speed based on conditions rather than posted speed limits.
The most visible crash Monday, a two-vehicle wreck at the corner of Washington Drive and Airport Way, was more typical of a summertime crash because it’s likely attributable to someone “blatantly” running a red light rather than sliding across, Foster said.
In that crash, reported about 2:40 p.m., a Volkswagen Jetta headed northbound on Washington Drive ran a red light at Airport Way and drove into the path of a Jeep Cherokee headed west on Airport, he said. The Jetta was launched into the parking lot of the KFC restaurant where it landed its roof. An occupant from each vehicle were taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries, he said.
There were several witnesses to the crash and the driver of the Volkswagen likely will be cited for a red light violation, he said.
Another two vehicles, a Ford and a Subaru crashed at 5:48 p.m. at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Lacey Street. Foster had less information about this crash in its immediate aftermath, but said one of the drivers reported neck pain after the collision.
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter, @FDNMcrime.