Heavy rain caused a 47-vehicle pileup this month on Interstate 75 near Sarasota, leaving 52 people injured. The accident was reminiscent of a chain-reaction crash in January on I-75 near Gainesville, which involved 19 cars and left 10 people dead. That accident was attributed to heavy smoke from a nearby fire, fog and darkness.

According to news reports, the Sarasota accident began with the collision of two vehicles traveling in a southbound lane atop an overpass. In the aftermath, the highway was strewn with vehicles, and the southbound lanes were closed for more than six hours while responders cleared the wreckage.

A spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol told WWSB ABC-7 that the accident could have been avoided. “If people had reduced their speed and kept a safe distance, we would not be having this conversation,” said Lt. Chris Miller. In heavy rain drivers should pull over to the shoulder, Miller said.

In the 2008 National Motor Vehicle Crash Survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers found that close to 10 percent of automobile accidents occur in rainy conditions. Edmunds.com reports that wet roads result in a film of water on the asphalt that causes tires to lose traction.

To prevent an accident in rainy weather, the company provides the following tips for driving safely:

  • Exercise extreme caution in rain after a long dry spell. During a dry period, engine oil and grease build up and make the road slick in a new rainfall.
  • Allow for more travel time. Drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet.
  • Brake earlier and with less force than you would normally.
  • Don’t use cruise control. If you hydroplane, there’s the chance your car could accelerate.
  • Turn on your headlights, even when there’s a light sprinkle. It helps you see the road and helps other motorists see you.
  • Keep track of the car ahead of you.
  • Give a truck or bus extra distance.
  • Defog your windows.
  • If you begin to hydroplane, do not suddenly turn the wheel or step on the brakes, or you may possibly spin into a skid.

Our Treasure Coast car accident attorneys encourage all drivers to stay alert and focused when traveling in poor weather conditions. We also encourage you to put on your flashers and pull safely off the road when you believe you can no longer drive safely.

About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida and the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, dog bite injuries, swimming pool accidents, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death claims.

Our law firm represents victims of car accidents across South Florida, including Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.