Police believe that a combination of the first consistent rain some parts of the state had seen in a few weeks and falling leaves may have contributed to four traffic-related deaths in West Virginia between Wednesday night and Thursday evening last week.
The first accident occurred in on Wednesday night. Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies said it was raining when driver Ramona Abbott of Walton was struck by another driver heading north on U.S. Route 119. The driver went across the center line near the Kanawha-Roane county line and slammed into her car. Abbott died a short time after the accident.
The following morning, an 88-year-old woman was struck by an SUV as she attempted to cross Greenbrier Street in Charleston at around 7:30 a.m. Thursday. A passenger on a KRT bus in the area says she got off the bus and tried to administer CPR, but there was nothing she could do. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later that day, Jeremy Gilles, 23, of Craigsville was killed when he lost control of his truck on Route 41 near Nile Road in Nicholas County. Gilles was ejected from the truck and taken to Summersville Regional Medical Center. Gilles died from his injuries.
The fourth accident occurred in Barbour County. Police reported that the fatal traffic accident occurred Thursday afternoon after a Barbour County man lost control of his truck and it rolled over on Route 76 near the intersection with U.S. Route 119. The driver died at the scene and his wife was injured and taken to the hospital. Authorities have not released further information about her condition.
Heavy rains contribute to accidents but causing reduced visibility and slippery driving conditions. While accidents may not always be preventable, there are precautions that can be taken to help prevent them:
1. You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.
2. If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. If your car has ABS, brake firmly as you steer into the skid.
3. Avoid hydroplaning by keeping your tires inflated correctly and maintaining good tire tread.
4. If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. Ease your foot off the gas until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do it gently with light pumping actions. However, if your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally. The car's computer will automatically pump the brakes much more effectively than a person can do.
5. Remember: A defensive driver adjusts his or her speed to the wet road conditions in time to avoid having to use any of these measures.
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