One fatal accident and five injury collisions on Highway 36 so far this year
NORTHERN HUMBOLDT COUNTY- Officials with the California Highway Patrol say more fatal crashes happen on that roadway than any other in Northern Humboldt County, with one already occurring this year.
Memorials can be seen every few miles on Highway 36, for the lives lost from traffic accidents over the years. Last year, there were six fatal collisions on Highway 36, a third of all accidents in Northern Humboldt County. Officer Matt Harvey with the California Highway Patrol says driving at unsafe speeds is to blame for several of these collisions.
"The majority of Highway 36, the speed limit's 55 miles per hour, but for some of these turns, you have to slow down well below 55 miles an hour to make that turn. And so it's a reminder to motorcyclists that are driving out here as well as the entire motoring public that it's going to require you to slow down significantly to make that turn so that you don't drive off the road into a tree," said Officer Harvey.
He also says failing to obey traffic laws results in accidents.
"For the majority of your drive, you can't see far enough to see if there's an oncoming vehicle coming, for that reason, you cannot pass over the double yellow lines, and that's been the cause of several crashes on highway 36 is people violating that," Officer Harvey said.
CHP officials say people need to be aware that more motorcycles will be on Highway 36 as summer approaches.
"They can be in your blind spot. They can sometimes sneak up on you don't even know they're there. So just pay extra, special attention to motorcyclists and any other vehicle for that matter," said Officer Harvey.
Officer Harvey also says that even if you are doing everything correctly, you still need to be careful for any possible unsafe drivers.
"That's why we are always trying to tell people to slow down, obey the speed limits, watch out for people doing things they shouldn't be doing. Watch out for people passing in areas they shouldn't be passing," Officer Harvey said.
He also says there’s other things you can do to be safe, as well, including having enough rest before hitting the road.
"Some statistics show that a drowsy driver is equivalent to having a certain amount of alcohol level. It's because when you're drowsy, you're not fully aware. You're perception and reaction time is reduced," said Officer Harvey.
He also urges the public never to drive distracted.
"Keep your eyes on the road at all times. A simple text message, reading or sending a text message, reaching down for a cup of coffee, looking back to talk to your child in the back seat, just taking your eyes off the road for a brief second, you could travel hundreds of feet before putting your eyes back on the road and a number of things could occur in that time," Officer Harvey said.
He also says since parts of Highway 36 take longer for first responders to get to, bring a first aid kit, food and water when driving on that road in case you need assistance and have to wait an extended period of time.
On Wednesday, a Texas man suffered major injuries after his motorcycle veered off the road on Highway 36 west of Dinsmore. The accident happened after 2 p.m. Officer Harvey confirms DUI does not appear to be a factor.