Staying safe on the roads when the weather turns bad

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SARASAOTA - Thursday's crash on the J.D. Young Bridge involving a beer truck is one of many dramatic weather related accidents we have seen in this state over the last couple of years. With the rainy months quickly approaching, authorities are warning drivers to take it easy on the road.

On Thursday, the driver of an 18-wheeler beer truck, plowed into the side of the bridge, and then crashed into the Manatee River below. Authorities say wet weather and driver error contributed to the accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 24% of all accidents are weather related each year.

"Most of the time it is a rear end collision and someone has failed to reduce their speed. They don't slow down and they rear end the other car," said Sgt. Robert Resch with Sarasota Police Department's Traffic Unit.

With Florida's unpredictable weather, the "Sunshine State" has seen it's fair share of bad accidents.

In January 2012, 10 people died after a series of wrecks on I-75 near Gainsville. At the time of the accidents, fog and smoke reduced visibility to zero.

Here at home, in October of the same year, 47 vehicles collided with one another when heavy rain poured down on a section of I-75 near University Parkway. Multiple people sustained injuries, but no one lost a life.

"Make sure you are aware of your speed and your brakes. Always wear your seat belt, make sure your wipers are working properly and they aren't worn out so you have good, clear vision in front of your vehicle," said Resch.

The driver of the beer truck is 40-year-old Kevin Dennison of Largo. He remains at Blake Medical Center in serious but stable condition. Charges against him are pending.