Heavy rain causes at least a dozen wrecks - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Heavy rain causes at least a dozen wrecks

LAWTON, Okla._Friday's rains wreaked havoc on drivers along I-44, causing at least a dozen accidents.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says each accident was the result of poor visibility and drivers going too fast on the rain-slicked roadways. The section of highway between Elgin and Key Gate has been accident-prone in the past, and the trend continued Friday.

More than half of the collisions Friday happened over a 15-mile stretch of the turnpike. Troopers say there's no real reason why it's such a hot spot, but did say traffic in that area is heavy and could be to blame.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Forrest White has been with the department for more than 10 years, and he has worked his fair share of accidents. He says they'd been called to about six wrecks before 9:00 a.m. and another five by lunch. Troopers say they never want to see a wreck, but they can work 10 or more during a rainy eight-hour shift.

Just because the road looks like it should be smooth sailing, it doesn't mean there aren't dangerous pockets of standing water.

"When the weather is heavy, whether it be rain, snow or whatever it is, slow down to a safe enough speed so that you can bring your car to a stop, and a controlled stop, if you do happen to lose control of your vehicle," Trooper White said.

Heavy downpours and speeds too fast for the rainy conditions also made for the perfect recipe for many of Friday's accidents, including this one near Elgin early in the morning.

"It was really dark this morning before daylight, the interstate was holding a lot of water from the heavy rains we'd received already and he just hit the water and hydroplaned and went straight into the ditch," Trooper White explained.

He says the accidents are also triggered by a number of things, like drivers using cruise control and poor vehicle maintenance.

"Keep the tires up on your vehicle, a lot of the vehicles we're seeing that are crashing have pretty slick tires on them and are probably going to need tires in the future," Trooper White said.

Trooper White says accidents happen every day, and if it's not the weather causing the collisions, it's folks rubbernecking.

"You have those people that want to stare and look and see what you're doing instead of letting traffic continue to flow, and then you have people not paying attention. So, you have slower traffic in front, faster traffic in back and it caused another accident," Trooper White explained.

He says that's also why it's required by law, anytime you see emergency vehicles or cars pulled over to the shoulder, to move into the other lane.

"If you can't slow down, as slow as you can because we have medical EMS personnel and law enforcement out here working an accident scene and none of us want to get hit, just slow down as much as you can and proceed with caution," Trooper White said.

Trooper White advised if you are ever in an accident on the highway, the best way to keep yourself safe is, if you are able to get out of the car, to get out and as far off the road as possible and wait for emergency personnel to arrive and clear the scene safely.

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