The return of rain to Sonoma County sent vehicles slipping and sliding across local roadways Friday morning, including one that overturned on Highway 101 in Petaluma, blocking two lanes for at least 30 minutes, the CHP said.
No major injuries were reported, but the series of crashes kept law enforcement and emergency personnel on the run.
"The biggest thing is we just need to remind folks that once the roads start getting wet they have to change their driving habits," CHP Officer Steve Fricke said. "Slow down. Leave plenty of room. Make sure your vehicle is operating right.
"When it does rain, people are not adjusting themselves for weather conditions," he said.
The worst of the trouble occurred along Highway 101 in south Sonoma County, where three crashes occurred in less than an hour beginning around 8:10 a.m. One involved an overturned pickup on Highway 101 near East Washington Street, another occurred at the Penngrove off-ramp, and a third near Kastania Road, south of Petaluma, the CHP said.
A three-car collision on Highway 101 at Shiloh Road in Windsor and a spinout at Highway 101 and Fulton Road in north Santa Rosa were both reported a few minutes later.
Earlier, a vehicle crashed into the center divide on Highway 37 near Highway 121, the CHP said.
Fricke advised motorists to ensure their tires are properly inflated and headlights and windshield wipers are operating properly now that the rainy season has arrived.
He also noted that state law requires drivers to turn their headlights on when wipers are needed.
But his main message was that people should slow down and not try to drive the same way in wet weather as they do when it's dry.
"Drop that speed down," he said.