CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The state's Department of Transportation is warning motorists to use caution and avoid flooded roadways in coming days with forecasters predicting heavy rainfall as a side effect of Hurricane Joaquin.
"Our message right now is for motorists to plan ahead and consider the forecast in their travel plans," said Acting Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall. "We want everyone to stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks due to the possible effects of Hurricane Joaquin."
Rain causes wet pavement, which reduces vehicle traction and maneuverability, SCDOT officials say. Heavy rain also reduces visibility distance. Flooding reduces roadway capacity by limiting or preventing access to submerged lanes.
Inland flooding, usually following the evolution of a tropical storm or hurricane, has typically been the greatest source of fatalities, and caused the most damage to roadway infrastructure, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
FHWA figures show that nationally each year, 75 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on wet pavement and 47 percent happen during rainfall.
Nearly 5,700 people are killed and more than 544,700 people are injured in crashes on wet pavement annually nationwide.
Hall urges citizens to monitor weather conditions and to stay alert for advisories from federal, state and local agencies.