A Virginia state trooper suffered serious injuries in a chain-reaction crash in a temporary work zone set up to address storm-related flooding on I-95 through the Caroline County town of Ladysmith. The wreck occurred shortly after midnight on June 25, 2015, when, according to television station WRIC, a semi ran out of control and collided with a pickup truck loaded with orange cones. The smaller vehicle then struck the law enforcement officer as he tried to climb over a guardrail.
No one else appears to have gotten hurt, but the tractor-trailer operator has been charged with reckless driving. It is unclear whether the trucker was exceeding the posted speed limit, had just been driving too fast for road conditions or unexpectedly hydroplaned on the water-covered pavement. Any of those things alone or in combination could constitute unsafe operation and failure to maintain proper control.
The wreck on the interstate connecting Fredericksburg and Richmond highlights two important lessons for all drivers. The first is that whether one is behind the wheel of a family car or a commercial truck, driving through heavy rain requires reducing speed and exercising increased caution. Very little water is needed to make tires lose contact, and a tire that does not touch the ground cannot be relied upon when braking. Going slower and tapping the brakes earlier allows more time and distance for stopping.
The other lesson is that everyone needs to obey Virginia's so-called move over law, which requires drivers to reduce their speed and move as far over as they safely can when they approach emergency workers and work zones. Failing to give individuals working beside the road enough time and space puts lives in danger.