I’d like you to check out the multi-car pile-up video but unfortunately, the video is no longer available. So let me just walk you through what happened in the video. I’ll try to provide as many details as possible to help you visualize what happened.
This recording was taken in Wisconsin during a snowstorm in 2013 and involved more than 60 vehicles.
You would think drivers from Wisconsin have a pretty good idea about how to drive safely in snowy conditions, but as this video proves, drivers get forgetful…
Car Crash Video Analysis
In this video, speed was the main factor. Just 5 seconds into the video, this becomes pretty obvious. Traffic has slowed, probably because of the deteriorating road conditions, and at least 2 vehicles failed to see the slowed traffic.
We can see the first vehicle around the 5 second mark begin losing control. As is the case with most drivers, the vehicle behind was not looking ahead and thus, also had to hit the brakes, sending the vehicle out of control.
Fortunately, the pickup truck in the left lane had the left shoulder to escape to. But the damage was already done as lanes now became blocked.
At the 15 second mark, we see more vehicles losing control, even though those vehicles had escape routes, the road conditions were simply too poor. Making sudden maneuvers only caused the vehicles to lose control further.
At the 17 second mark, vehicles continue to enter the video frame at a high rate of speed. Some got lucky, others didn’t. At this point, the “stage was set” for something bigger.
So far, only a small handful of vehicles were involved and, unfortunately, this type of event is pretty common during snowstorms in any part of the country.
Things Go From Bad To Worse
The minor rear-end collision at the 39-second mark is almost humorous. Even with the shoulder available and an open lane to the left, a rear-end collision still occurred.
At this point, a short lull in the action begins, but we still see some rather unusual behavior as the victims of the crash begin entering the still open expressway with a wall of vehicles on the way.
Between the 0:45 and 0:52 mark, we see several more vehicles enter the frame which are obviously traveling too fast for conditions. Some of them never made it through.
We can also see pedestrians almost getting struck around the 1-minute mark. They were putting their lives in further danger.
A few other vehicles are involved until the 3-minute mark, but that’s when things really go to Hell. It just seems like they will never stop coming!
Unfortunately, one man did die as a result of his injuries from this pile-up.
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What to do to avoid major vehicle pile-ups?
This is not a joke – a multi-car pileup can instantly turn a roadway into a parking lot.
A parking lot of what? Yes, of smashed vehicles and twisted metal.
This can all be deadly if you do not know what to do in that situation.
So, if you are asking what you should do if your car is part of a chain-reaction crash, the first thing that you should remember is that you have to stay inside your car. There, you will have a strong structure to protect you against further damage – but note that this doesn’t mean you will be entirely safe.
Your reaction should depend on the circumstances, but staying put is a good first reaction until you have assessed the situation properly. Check immediately whether other cars are headed for the pileup, and check your situation – are you injured? Is your car heavily damaged? Does the door still work? You might want to secure a safe exit in case things come to worst.
Now, once the scene stabilizes, make sure that there is no longer a threat of being hit by an oncoming car. At this point, you may choose to get away from the crash scene (at your discretion). Just make sure to move to the other side of a guide rail or stand behind something solid, like a tree, as you wait for help to arrive.
If you’re capable and if you are not hurt, try to help injured people. Call 911 immediately in case no one else has reported the accident.
The Lessons To Be Learned
Well, it’s pretty obvious in this video, isn’t it? Clearly, speed was the main factor here. But, I also saw two other blatant issues that many people who aren’t driving instructors may not notice.
First, everyone’s following distance was way too close even for good weather conditions. When it’s snowing, the following distance should be doubled or tripled – minimum.
It is also pretty obvious that people aren’t looking down the road far enough. Many of the vehicles that crashed were obviously following the taillights in front of them. Monkey see, monkey do.
Let’s also not forget, however, that these same rules should apply in all sorts of other weather conditions as well.
While I was a truck driver I saw many accidents – some of them happened right in front of me. Hands down, the worst accidents I’ve ever seen have not occurred during snowy conditions. They have occurred during rain or icy conditions – especially when the ice was black ice (or glare ice).
Rain can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than snow, and yet, many people still don’t slow down.
So, here are my takeaways from this accident…
- Slow down
- Look further ahead while driving
- Increase following distances
- Learn how to drive properly in poor weather conditions
What do you think? Please share your comments in the commenting section below.