An estimated 40 vehicles were involved in a pile-up of collisions at Grand Canyon National Park on Dec. 29, including a van that slid over the edge of the canyon, according to a news release from the National Park Service.
Nobody died. Not in the van or any other of the smashups.
The van, which contained five passengers and one driver, was found over the edge of the canyon at Navajo Point, located between Buggeln Hill and Desert View.
Rather than tumbling to the canyon’s depths, the van had slid over the edge and rolled over to a stop about 25 feet below the rim.
All occupants had gotten out of the van before emergency crews arrived and only minor injuries were reported. The release did not note if any of those injuries were to the vocal cords from screaming.
Minor injuries were also the only result of the other 40 or so vehicles that collided around 5 p.m. in the area of Buggeln Hill on Desert View Drive, also known as the East Rim Drive.
The collisions occurred from a combination of light snow falling on wet roads and freezing evening temperatures.
“Those planning to visit the Grand Canyon area should be aware that winter driving conditions are expected to persist in the park as periodic snow storms are followed by daytime melting and nighttime freezing,” the release said. “Park visitors are encouraged to tune their radios to AM 1610 where they can hear recommendations for driving in winter conditions.”
Although Tucson is not known for its icy and snowy road conditions – just its crummy drivers – other areas around Arizona can truly be hazardous.
Before hitting a potentially hazardous road, check out some winter driving tips from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Prepare for the storm— have a full tank of gas, warm clothes, chains or snow cables, food and water, cell phone, know the weather conditions to and from your destination and make sure you plan ahead for winter driving conditions. Get plenty of rest before your trip and give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Make sure you let someone know where you’re going, what route you will be taking and when you expect to arrive.
* Take your time and be patient.
* Always brake slowly and avoid panic braking.
* Always accelerate slowly to get the best traction.
* Do not turn abruptly, turn slowly and gradually.
* Increase the distance between you and traffic ahead, allow yourself plenty of time to break and steer around upcoming hazards.
* Ice forms on bridges first.
* Black ice is hard to see, it forms with very little moisture during freezing temperatures.
* When stopped on the roadway, keep to the right to allow emergency vehicles to get around you.
* Beware of shaded areas on the roadway, ice may be present.
* Do not follow too closely behind snow plows.
* If you are in an accident, become stuck or are just taking a break, do not get out of your vehicle and stand in the roadway. Sliding vehicles are hard to hear on ice and snow and you increase your risk of being hit. Watch traffic, stay out of and away from the roadway and do not become complacent—stay alert to your surroundings.
* Arizona Department of Transportation website contains road condition info at www.az511.com.
* ADOT or DPS will assist you as soon as possible.
Please also heed a very important warning, issued earlier this month during flurries:
“DPS urges caution to those traveling north and advises motorists should not stop along the highway to play in the snow.”
Just in case you were wondering, it may also not be a very good idea to hurl ice chunks at windshields from an overpass, build a snowman on an off ramp or lie down to make a snow angel in the middle of the highway.
What do you think?
Have you ever been in a winter collision? What happened?
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve seen someone do while driving in ice or snow?
Do you freak out if you have to drive in snow, rain or wind?