Rains factor in I-15 accident; tips for driving in rain

Stock image; photo does not represent the accident in the attached report | Image by St. George News

HURRICANE – Heavy rainfall in Southern Utah is considered a likely factor behind a two-vehicle collision on Interstate 15. While the incident was relatively minor and no one was taken to the hospital, officials want to remind people to drive safe as the rains continue.

On northbound I-15 at mile post 19, around 9:20 a.m., a two-vehicle accident was reported that reduced northbound traffic to one lane for a short time. Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson said a car was following behind a semitrailer and experiencing poor visibility from the spray kicked up by the semitrailer’s back tires. While attempting to pass the semitrailer the car hit a puddle and hydroplaned, resulting in it being rear-ended by another car.

No injuries were reported in connection with the accident, and all travel lanes were reopen by 10:50 a.m.

With the rain projected to continue through Thursday, officials are asking motorists to drive safe. Freestyle hydroplaning is strongly discouraged.

Heavy rain expected,” The Washington County Sheriff’s Office tweeted. “Think safety. Do not cross swollen roads, streams or rivers. 18 inches of water will float a vehicle.”

Safety tips for driving in the rain, courtesy of SmartMotorist.com:

  • First and foremost: slow down! It takes longer to stop or adjust in wet weather.
  • Stay toward the middle lanes – water tends to pool in the outside lanes.
  • Maintain proper following distance (three-second Rule). This needs to be increased in wet weather.
  • Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.
  • Don’t follow large trucks or busses too closely. The spray created by their large tires reduces your vision. Take care when passing them as well; if you must passes, do so quickly and safely.
  • Be more alert when driving in wet or slippery conditions. Watch out for brake lights in front of you.
  • Avoid using your brakes; if possible, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down.
  • Turn your headlights on even in a light rain, or in gloomy, foggy or overcast conditions. Not only do they help you see the road, but they’ll help other drivers see you. If your car has daytime running lights you still should put them on, so vehicles behind you can see you better.
  • Before it starts to rain, replace old or brittle wipers.
  • Avoid off-road driving: it’s hard to judge the actual depth of puddles and you can easily become stuck, even in an SUV.
  • Never drive beyond the limits of visibility. At night rainy roads become especially treacherous. The glare of oncoming lights, amplified by the rain on your windscreen, can cause temporary loss of visibility while substantially increasing driver fatigue. In rainy conditions pedestrians, livestock, and wildlife are extremely hard to spot and even harder to avoid.
  • Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground through it; your car could be swept off the road.
  • When driving through a puddle of uncertain depth, go slow. If it’s deeper than the bottom of your doors, turn around and find another route. Deep water can cause serious damage to a modern car’s electrical system.
  • Avoid splashing pedestrians.
  • If possible, stay off the road during heavy thunderstorms. Large flashes of lightning can temporarily blind and disorient drivers, and the accompanying high winds and heavy rain can create deadly driving conditions.

More detailed driving tips can be found at SmartMotorist.com.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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