Following three weather-related vehicle accidents Monday morning with no reported injuries, local law enforcement officials are urging Kodiak residents to take precautions when driving in icy road conditions.
“The biggest key is to slow down. That will help you immensely. Take it easy and be aware,” said Sgt. Daniel Blizzard with the Alaska State Troopers.
Two of the accidents occurred outside city limits: one near Boy Scout Lake and the other near Surfers Beach. The third, one of the city’s first weather-related incidents of the winter season, and occurred on Birch Street, said Kodiak Police Chief Timothy Putney.
These are areas known to be prone to icing over and where drivers can find themselves sliding into a ditch.
Police issued a Nixle alert on Monday for icy road conditions, advising drivers to use caution on Chiniak Highway near Pasagshak.
“Chiniak Hwy in the area of Pasagshak is experiencing poor driving conditions, please use extreme caution,” said the advisory.
Putney said driving slowly is key, and noted that there is no limit to how slow drivers can go.
“Whatever is prudent for the road conditions,” Putney said. “Even if the Mil Bay speed limit is 30 miles per hour, but if you can only do 10 miles per hour, it’s fine.”
Blizzard said the roads out to Pasagshak, after passing the “Y” intersection, are known for having icy conditions. Other areas with potentially icy roads stretch from Dead Man's Curve to Boyscout Lake, and from Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport to the Coast Guard base.
Blizzard said Monday’s accidents outside of city limits amounted to the highest number of weather-related accidents law enforcement has seen yet this season, but he expects the number to increase as fall turns into winter.
Putney said one of the areas to pay extra attention to during winter is the intersection near Coon Field “because of the stop and go there.”
Other problematic areas include the corner of Woody Way and Rezanof Drive, streets that are on inclines connecting Mill Bay Road to Rezanof Drive, and the section of Mill Bay Road that passes Walmart and Safeway.
Last winter between October 2019 and March 2020, there were 34 motor vehicle collisions outside of city limits. Blizzard said that around 15 of those occurred on icy or snow-covered roads.
Putney said the city usually has seven accidents per month in the winter time, some of which are related to icy conditions.