A Michigan couple lost their lives recently in a massive pileup accident on the interstate between Detroit and Chicago. There were more than 40 vehicles involved in the collision, which caused at least 20 injuries. The crash happened when a sudden burst of lake-effect snow surprised motorists, including semitrailers that were involved in the pileup with passenger cars.
The accident was not the first pileup to occur this year. Harsh winter weather conditions have led to many chain-reaction collisions, with at least one multiple-vehicle pileup occurring every day between December 1 and the end of January 2014.
Victims of pileup crashes face legal challenges in recovering accident compensation, because it can be difficult to determine who was to blame for a collision when many different vehicles are involved. A Detroit personal injury lawyer at Fraser & Souweidane, P.C. can help crash victims to determine who was at fault for their collision and to pursue a claim for damages.
Chain Reaction Cars a Winter Risk
In 2013, at least 107 chain-reaction collisions occurred on the roads in the U.S. Chain-reaction collisions were defined as accidents involving at least five vehicles and causing at least one death, or as crashes with at least 10 vehicles if no fatalities occurred. More than 60 percent of the pileup collisions happened in bad weather conditions. USA Today reported on the top causes of highway pileups including:
- Snow squalls, which accounted for 20 pileups.
- Icy roads, on which 15 pileups occurred.
- Snow or freezing rain, which lead to nine pileups.
- Fog, which also led to nine pileups.
These crashes typically start when one or more drivers spins out of control and is involved in a collision. Surrounding vehicles cannot stop and cannot get out of the way. These other cars are either hit by the vehicles that collided or the other cars strike the vehicles that had collided. Low visibility is also a contributing factor in pileups, since drivers often cannot see the impaired vehicles on the road until it is too late to stop.
The initial collision and subsequent accidents are more likely to occur when drivers are going too fast for the current conditions of the road. Simply staying below the speed limit is not enough to stay safe in winter weather, nor is it necessarily enough to avoid liability for collision injuries. Drivers are expected to operate at a speed that is safe for the current conditions. If the roads are icy and if you can't see far in front of you, you need to slow down.
In addition to reducing your speed, you can also protect yourself from pileup accidents by increasing the space between your vehicle and the car ahead of you.
Finally, staying home when there is a winter weather advisory warning and when the roads are bad is also a good idea whenever possible, so think about putting off unnecessary errands until a clear day when there is no storm brewing.
A Detroit personal injury lawyer can help victims of a collision. Contact Fraser & Souweidane, P.C. at (866) 465-9095 or visit www.fsattorneys.com to schedule a free consultation.