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Accidents highlight need for caution with winter driving

‘Tis the season.

Winter weather contributed to at least three accidents in Archuleta County Monday and, while no one was injured, makes pertinent the warnings to exercise caution when driving in wintry conditions.

According to information provided by the Colorado State Patrol, the first of the accidents occurred at about 7:40 a.m. on U.S. 160 near Aspen Village.

In the incident, Mike Alsobrook, 44, of Cortez, stopped his Freightliner box truck for a car in the roadway that had spun out when a Dodge Dakota driven by Daniel Hobda, 47, of Pagosa Springs, was unable to stop on the icy road and rear-ended the larger truck.

Hobda was cited for following too closely in the incident.

The second of the accidents occurred five minutes later in the same general area, at mile post 138, near Scenic Drive.

Robin Bourriague, 40, of Ignacio, was travelling eastbound on U.S. 160 when she lost control of the Suzuki XL7 on the icy road.

After sliding off the left side of the roadway, Bourriague’s vehicle struck an embankment and rolled three-quarters of a turn, coming to rest on its left side.

Pagosa Fire Protection District and EMS personnel also responded to the scene.

The woman was uninjured and was not charged.

The last of Monday’s winter-related accidents reported by the CSP took place on U.S. 84, eight miles from the New Mexico border.

Driver Joel Sanderson, 52, of Raton, N.M., was travelling south in a Ford Excursion hauling a cargo trailer at about 6:30 p.m. when an oncoming car approached in the southbound lane.

To avoid the car, the Ford swerved, slid off the roadway and rolled three-quarters of a turn down a steep embankment.

No one was reported injured and Sanderson was not charged.

Crews, including tow truck personnel, worked late into the night to pull the vehicle and trailer up the embankment.

This week’s accidents highlight the yearly warning that, with the beauty of winter, come the dangers of winter driving, including both the elements and unfamiliar drivers.

The Colorado Department offers the following winter driving tips on their website:

• Be sure to carry plenty of windshield wiper fluid as liquid de-icers may stick to your windshield.

• Let the snowplow drivers do their jobs by giving them extra room.

• Slow down! Even roads that have been treated with liquid de-icers may be slippery.

• Don’t use cruise control when traveling in winter conditions.

• Be prepared. Have a scraper, snow brush, coat, hat, gloves, blanket, first aid kit, flashlight, tire chains, matches and nonperishable food in your car.

• Make sure your tires have good tread.

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