In the past week, winter has hit hard in several parts of the country causing treacherous driving conditions, resulting numerous pile-up accidents that left many motorists stranded for hours.
Freezing conditions caused ice to cover a bridge in Worcester, Massachusetts leading to a 70-vehicle accident. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries or fatalities, but the pile-up closed the road in both directions for nearly five hours. Freezing temperatures over night caused the bridge to freeze over.
Another 70 car pile-up happened in Germantown, Wisconsin during whiteout conditions. A video released by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation shows traffic backing up, yet some drivers continuing to drive too fast for the dangerous road conditions. Vehicles started to slide out of control slamming into other vehicles or sliding completely off the road. At least one man died in the pileup.
During a major snowstorm, motorists were stranded for hours after 50-vehicle pile-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that left one driver dead after he exited his vehicle to assist other drivers.
A New York accident on the Bronx River Parkway caused injuries to 35 people due to ice, snow, and rain. Police said most of the vehicles in the pile-up accident were traveling at a slow speed, but a slight downhill grade may have contributed to vehicles sliding into one another.
Interstate-81 in Maryland was closed over 3 hours following an accident involving more than 20 vehicles. After a tractor-trailer spun out it was hit by another tractor-trailer that flipped and spilled its load.
Conditions were no better in the South’ a deadly multi-vehicle in West Texas claimed at least one life and left dozens shivering in their cars for more than day. One driver said his family was stranded in their car for 26 hours.
Motorists never know when conditions will take a turn for the worse; even a road that has been in the sun most of the day can become dangerous if water lays on the surface, then freezes when shadows pass over it or as the sun goes down. Planning can help reduce becoming a victim of a pile-up, or any, auto accident.
Here are some helpful tips to stay safe and avoid a major pile-up.
Check the weather conditions before getting on the roads. Ice and snow can become a problem quickly. Being aware of road conditions can help prepare motorists for what to expect. If you’re planning a long trip, check weather reports frequently.
Check your tires. Make sure they are in good condition before winter begins.
Traction is crucial. When the roads are wet, icy, or snow covered, ease up not only on the accelerator, but the steering wheel and brakes, as well. Try to plan your maneuvers in advance, even with four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles.
Slow down and take your time. Pile-ups often occur because people are driving to fast for road conditions. Leave proper distance between you and other vehicles. Maintain proper speed and slow down as conditions worsen. Don’t be surprised by slow or stopped traffic ahead.
Avoid distractions and give your full attention to driving and your surroundings.
Stay in your vehicle. If you are involved in a pile-up, resist the urge to get out of you car to inspect the damage, take pictures, or help others. If possible, drive carefully out of the area and call for help. If you can’t move your vehicle, remain inside until help arrives.
Practice makes perfect especially for new drivers. Find a vacant parking lot to practice. Learn the limits of your vehicle by hitting the gas, slamming on the brakes, and jerking the steering wheel. Let the vehicle slide and spin around to understand how each condition feels and practice the safest way to react.
Plan ahead. Keep a few supplies – snacks, water, blanket, extra winter clothing, gloves, shovel, etc.
Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.