The Highway 17 corridor was identified as a high collision corridor in 1998 as a result of collision data analysis and recommendations of local, regional, county and state agencies. Collision reduction strategies, including enforcement and road improvements have made some positive impact. However, in recent years, Highway 17 from Los Gatos to the Summit has seen a steady rise in collisions.
Accidents on the highway present one of the greatest hazards to the public and our responders.
Over 63,000 people commute over Highway 17 daily, and more available distractions present dangerous hazards, including:
- Cellular devices
Wet weather makes travel on Highway 17 increasingly hazardous. Speed limits are established for ideal road and traffic conditions, but are not appropriate during inclement weather.
Slow for inclement weather conditions:
- Heavy fog and light rain makes roadways slippery
- Heavy rain reduces visibility between vehicles and lanes
- In cold weather, ‘black ice’ is not visible but extremely dangerous
Secondary accidents occur due to driver behavior and inattention near accidents on the highway, putting drivers and responders at additional risk.
Characteristics of Highway 17 itself complicate responses for our crews
- Lanes with limited or no shoulders
- Blind curves
- Traffic congestion
HOW CAN YOU BE SAFE ON 17?
Slow down and allow for extra travel time to account for traffic and road conditions.
- leave extra space between vehicles
- Put down the cell phone and avoid distractions
- Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ while driving
- Finish your morning routine before you hit the road. Don't wait until you're on the highway to eat breakfast or check your traffic apps.
Slow down for lights or flares.
Emergency vehicles may have to ‘split traffic’ by traveling down the center of the lanes when they are responding.
- Turn off your radio
- Roll your windows down
- Listen for direction
BE PREPARED FOR HIGHWAY TRAVEL AND DELAYS
Stay up-to-date on road conditions
- Caltrans road conditions are updated in real time
Have emergency supplies in your vehicle, in case you are stuck on the highway for an extended amount of time.