In my career, I have handled numerous Car Accident Pile-Ups involving catastrophic and fatal injuries. In litigating these multi-vehicle car accident pile-ups, the investigation always starts with who started the chain reaction and why.
After the determination is made with respect to how the car accident pile-ups first started, the car accidents and truck accidents thereafter are each separately analyzed and considered sub-accidents of the initial cause. Although the car in front is still the main cause of the accident, every individual car and truck involved in the accident is analyzed for its’ own actions and contribution to the pile-up. If the accident happens on an interstate, it is almost guaranteed that large tractor-trailers will be in the mix of vehicles involved in the accident. Unfortunately, when large tractor trailers are involved, tragic and catastrophic injuries usually follow in car accident pile-ups.
What I have learned from this litigation is that you don’t want to be in car accident pile-ups on a highway if you can avoid it. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips on what to do. This short list could save your life.
- Turn on your lights and flashers.
- Exit the highway as soon as possible.
- Decrease your speed but do not stop.
- Avoid passing & changing lanes.
- Increase your following distance.
- Leave yourself an out.
- Stay alert – look as far ahead as possible.
- Reduce distractions in your vehicle.
- Keep windows & mirrors clean.
- If you absolutely must pull over, pull over as far off the road as you can – preferably to the high side of the road, leaving your flashers and lights on. Grab your coat and immediately get out of your car and move away from the road and the car, preferably up-hill.
- Don’t stop on the travelled portion of the road. You could become the first link in a chain-reaction collision.
- Don’t attempt to pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.
Last Friday was far from the calm after the storm. According to Philly.com crews had spent nearly two days salting and plowing the turnpike and around 6 am, speed restrictions had been lifted. It all began when two separate accidents occurred around 8:30 am. These accidents were two miles apart, and each involved about 20-25 cars, trucks, and tractor-trailers. Drivers veered and turned to avoid the wreckage, which caused approximately 12 sections of additional car accidents.
The road did not reopen until about 4 p.m. Thankfully, none of the crash-related injuries appeared to be life-threatening. Although the pile up is still under investigation, vehicles involved in the accident stated that the accidents were caused by the slick conditions, which made the road to feel like ice.
Philly.com described two separate experiences of individuals involved in the multi-vehicle car accident. One of those individuals was a 53 year old man of Hatboro, who was caught at the center of the second accident. A few hundred yards behind a tractor-trailer collision, he was caught in the middle of a multi-vehicle car accident fender-bender that occurred in the sudden backlash of the initial accident. In a separate report, a 49 year old man was headed to work from his Upper Gwynedd home to Burlington when the cars in front of him began bouncing into the center barrier, hitting other vehicles, sliding across three lanes of traffic, and then hitting other cars, he said. “Two cars were within inches of hitting me,” he said from his car hours later. When his car did come to a halt, he said, he watched in the rear view mirror as uncontrolled cars slid in the direction of his Honda Pilot. A tractor-trailer ended up about three feet from his side door. “I was just holding on because stuff behind me was going on all over the place,”. Somehow he came through unscathed.
LifeHacker.com provides several safety tips and articles that can prevent car accidents which result from the hazardous conditions of winter driving. This lead us to another informative article on how to recover from 5 different types of skids.