SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. - As rain pounds the Central Coast Thursday, CHP is out in full force on Highway 17 reminding drivers to slow down.
Officer Trista Drake says the number one thing is for drivers to take it slow and give themselves extra time to get to their destination. "We have extra units that are dedicated to Highway 17, running round Robins where we are just driving back and forth with our lights on kind of slowing people down, bringing them in at the speed we want them to come into, we feel like that's really effective at slowing people down all around," says Officer Drake.
Another common mistake, drivers forgetting to turn on their headlights when using their windshield wipers. Officer Drake says it's not only dangerous, but also illegal, "It's amazing how many cars don't have headlights on. It's the law, it says that if you have your wipers on, then your headlights need to be on as well. You just want to stay visible to all the other cars on the road."
While it's important to stay cautious and safe on all parts of Highway 17, CHP says they have spotted a few problem areas in the rain. "We see a lot of crashes near the Glenwood curves, and Laurel curve, and just because it's really windy in those areas. But you know all of 17 can be treacherous when it starts raining," says Drake.
Summit House Restaurant Owner Rosanne Mayclin says seeing accidents on Highway 17 when it rains is almost like clock work. "It's become a norm. It unfortunately is, you can almost call it. I went down to Scotts Valley today and there was two accidents coming back up. It doesn't matter what the weather is like, they still go fast," says Mayclin. She also says it's not uncommon for drivers come into the restaurant visibly shaken up after driving Highway 17. She says her restaurant has been there for 4 years and has become a safe spot for people to relax before taking on the rest of Highway 17.
Commuter Bob Jackson says he's live in this area for 19 years and over the past few years the accidents have gotten worse. Jackson says he checks 511 before leaving each morning. And while rain is a big factor in the accidents he sees, it's not the only one, "people have their phone in their hand constantly, I mean I drive by people every day and see people doing a little bit of swerving and they still are doing it in the rain, and those are the people that are probably crashing."