Rain leads to 16 wrecks around the Tennessee Valley

Rain leads to 16 wrecks around the Tennessee Valley

December 22nd, 2011 by Andrew Pantazi in News

Two truck drivers confer Wednesday after an accident on Interstate 24 westbound near the Fourth Avenue exit. Intermittent, heavy rains left the roadways wet for drivers and was blamed for many accidents.

Photo by Tracey Trumbull /Times Free Press.


High - 67

Low - 42

Chance of rain: 80 percent


High - 57

Low - 36

Chance of rain: 20 percent


High - 54

Low - 40

Chance of rain: 30 percent


High - 52

Low - 34

Chance of rain: 30 percent

Source: National Weather Service

Rain-slicked roads during Wednesday's morning commute caused 16 accidents on Interstates 75 and 24.

As nearly an inch of rain hit Hamilton County, at least five crashes happened in both directions of I-24 while five more occurred on I-75 northbound and one in the southbound lanes, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Chattanooga police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office worked most of those crashes, and two of them had injuries, one on I-75 and one on I-24, according to a Chattanooga police dispatcher. Lt. John Harmon of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said that none of the crashes the THP worked in Hamilton County caused injuries.

While traffic was backing up because of the first few accidents, even more crashes occurred, he said, which delayed traffic even more.

Still, Hamilton County and the state overall are doing better on traffic fatalities than in the past.

Hamilton County had 33 traffic fatalities this year, compared to 42 in 2010, Harmon said. Statewide, there were 1,017 fatalities last year, and as of the beginning of Wednesday, 908 so far this year, he said.

Harmon attributes it to safer cars, better roads and more education.

But to prevent more crashes in the rain, Harmon, a safety education officer, said drivers must slow down when weather makes it difficult to drive.

Even if a driver is going the posted speed limit, if the conditions are bad enough, a patrol officer could pull him or her over for speeding, he said.

Though Harmon admitted that officers aren't likely to do it.

"The speed limit can change due to weather conditions," he said. "This is a common-sense thing."

Regardless of weather, he said drivers also need to wear their seat belts and abstain from drinking or texting while driving.

Staff writer Naomi Jagoda contributed to this article.

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