Voice of Experience On Canyon Road Ice

Motorist says he was aware of the danger potential and was driving carefully when his sports car hit the black ice and slammed into a tree.

Moragans — beware the spot on Canyon Road where runoff flows on the road, and car tires spread the water into a thin, freezable skim.

That's the message from the driver whose small car was battered when he lost control on a patch of ice Thursday and struck a tree. The driver says he knew about the potential danger of the icy spot but still lost control.

"I was driving cautiously — because I know that part of the road is dangerous (as I said before, I have driven that road every day for years)," wrote a Moragan, who asked to be identified only as Dave, in an email. He was driving the Porsche that hit the icy patch on Canyon Road around 7:30 a.m. Thursday. "Even while driving carefully and under the speed limit, the ice got me … I did indeed see other cars and people on foot slither through the same area, even at very low speeds."

Dave said for a while he had a tender spot on his cheek from the airbag, but that's it for injury.

The town has put out "Icy" signs in the area. The runoff area with ice potential is in a flat part of the road where drivers often accelerate to get up to speed for an uphill going by the EBMUD staging area. Many motorists use Canyon to Pinehurst as an alternate route to Oakland to avoid traffic jams on the highway through the Caldecott Tunnel.

The runoff from the Canyon Road bank "gets dragged in both directions by the tires of passing cars. That thin film freezes easily and transparently," Dave wrote.

Dave thanked the local man who came along shortly after his car-vs.-tree crash and set out flares to slow the traffic.

Be careful even though there's a warming trend with a predicted low for Saturday in Lamorinda at 43 degrees.


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