BOISE -- Rescuers have responded to dozens of weather-related crashes after a thin layer of snow blanketed the Treasure Valley on Christmas Day.
Idaho State Police closed down a portion of the Boise connector after the storm made driving conditions unsafe early Tuesday evening.
A weather-related accident later that night claimed the life of a 73-year-old Nampa woman after the car she was riding in collided with a pickup. Several more weather-related accidents on Tuesday and Wednesday sent drivers to the hospital with significant injuries.
The changing weather has apparently caught many drivers off-guard, according to officials at the Ada County Highway District and Idaho Transportation Dept.
"You get used to driving on bare pavement," cautioned Mel Coulter of ITD. "You forget that stopping distances are much, much greater."
The chief information officer for ACHD has a similar warning. Craig Quintana says drivers often take some time to get used to winter roads.
"We see rear end crashes here in the Treasure Valley because people follow too closely," Quintana said. "When you compound that with winter driving it can be much worse."
ITD says the following three tips are critical when driving in winter in Idaho:
- Make sure you know the highway conditions before you leave
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Slow down and drive according to the conditions
Ada County dispatchers say rescuers also responded to at least 15 accidents Thursday morning. Three of those accidents involved injuries. Authorities say weather was a factor in many of the crashes.
Interstate 84 east of Twin Falls also saw a flurry of accidents late Thursday morning just before Noon. The freeway is currently closed from milepost 186 to 192 due to multiple slide-offs and accidents.
KTVB Meteorologist Larry Gebert says falling temperatures on Thursday night could make roadways even slicker, as melting snow turns to ice.
Thursday night's low temperature is predicted to be 17 degrees.
Gebert says two small storm systems are responsible for the current icy conditions. Just over an inch of snow has fallen since Tuesday.