VIDEO: Rain wreaking havoc for drivers on Highway 17 in Santa Cruz mountains

(Rob Fladeboe/Twitter)


SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KRON) — The Santa Cruz Mountains were in the crosshairs of the first big rainmaker of the season.

Needless to say, Highway 17’s reputation as a white-knuckle rainy day drive is still very much in-tact.

Just south of Laurel Curve, a sign shows drivers how fast they’re going. Traffic is moving along pretty well Thursday evening, but it was a different story on Thursday morning with stop and go traffic amid several minor mishaps.

This was the scene just north of the Summit as fire trucks trailed by the California Highway Patrol headed to the latest crash on Highway 17.

Up ahead near Big Moody Curve, there was a single vehicle spinout.

The driver was shaken but not hurt, says the CHP’s Rajeev Negi.

“In this particular situation, a vehicle lost traction and spun around,” Negi said. “It hit the center divide and ended up the wrong way, so we came in with a traffic break and got the car off to the shoulder.”

Officer Negi says there were six minor accidents on the north side of the Summit alone. No serious injuries were reported.

In almost every case, says Negi, the drivers were going too fast or following too closely.

“It’s been a very busy day,” Officer Negi said. “Whenever it rains, we ask people to slow down, take it easy. The road is going to be slippery all day.”

The rain began just in time for the morning commute, of course. And it was heavy rain at that for much of the day with some flooding in the curves.

The Sugar Loaf area south of the summit did not look like many drivers were heeding the CHP’s advice or paying much attention to those overhead signs that warn of slippery pavement.

“The road is slick and people are losing traction, that’s why we tell them to slow down,” Officer Negi said.

Storm drains tell the tale of heavy runoff, a potential hazard where Caltrans is still working to stabilize trouble spots left over from last winter’s storms that took a heavy toll here.

KRON4 saw some rocks on the road, but so far, there have been no reports of any significant slide activity.



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