Bad Weather And Bad Driving Cause Massive Michigan Pile-Up, Like One in Texas Two Years Ago

Truckers Driving Too Fast For Weather Conditions to Blame Again

A monstrous chain wreck involving more than 200 vehicles in Michigan last week resulted in the death of a Canadian tractor-trailer driver and multiple injuries to other truckers and motorists. Police say driver error was to blame as tractor-trailer drivers and motorists sped down the highway despite the poor driving conditions that included slick ice and heavy snow.

Several 18-wheelers were carrying toxic and explosive substances that put rescue crews and the occupants of disabled vehicles in serious danger. In one spectacular incident, the accident detonated firecrackers in a truck, which then erupted into a massive fireball.

2012 Thanksgiving Texas Pile-Up

On Thanksgiving morning in 2012, Jefferson County was the scene of a catastrophic pile-up involving 140 vehicles. The series of crashes occurred on Interstate 10 between Beaumont and Houston. A couple was killed when a tractor-trailer which was driving too fast crushed their Chevy Suburban SUV. An estimated 90 people suffered injuries severe enough to require hospital treatment; a dozen of the injuries were considered critical.

“This boiled down to driver behavior.”

Investigators say that driver behavior caused the catastrophic Michigan crash.
One spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation said,
“This boiled down to driver behavior,” and explained that “People were
driving too fast and following too closely on an icy freeway during a
white-out.”

Adding to the dangers, the Michigan drivers were rubbernecking as they passed the earlier accidents instead of concentrating on their
driving. Police say drivers in the westbound lanes looking at the wrecks in the eastbound lanes triggered a second series of chain reactions. 59 semis and 83 cars wrecked in the westbound lanes and 26 semis and 34
cars wrecked in the eastbound lanes.

Similarly, Texas’s 140-car pileup
was blamed on motorists driving the 70 mph speed limit and following
too closely without regard to the severe fog that restricted vision on
the highway. Also, as in the Michigan pile-up, rubberneckers triggered a second series of accidents by staring at the wreckage in the opposite
lane instead of watching the road ahead.

Lessons Learned

Multiple vehicle accidents are surprisingly common. But, as we
can see from the extreme Michigan and Texas pile-ups, chain reaction
collisions can be avoided. The mild winters in Texas can actually be
much more dangerous than the deeper cold and snow in the Northern
states. According to a professional truck driver in his Yahoo Auto
article, temperatures ranging between 22 to 35 degrees afford less
traction than temperatures that fall below 20 degrees.

You can avoid a pile-up by:

  • Slowing down during inclement weather
  • Avoiding sudden, jerky motions so your wheels don’t slip on icy pavement
  • Turning on your lights so other drivers can more easily see you
  • Using your signals before you begin to slow for a turn or lane change
  • Using hazards and driving in the right lane if you are going slower than surrounding traffic
  • Pulling off the side of the road to a safe place if bad weather restricts your visibility
  • Keeping your eyes on the road, not on the dramatic car crash that just occurred

Recover in an 18-Wheeler Accident

Bill Berenson has been certified as a Personal Injury Trial Lawyer by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
since 1994. Our firm regularly handles serious tractor-trailer accident cases and can help you recover damages from the truck driver and
trucking company responsible for yours. Call Bill Berenson toll free at
888-801-8585 or in Dallas-Fort Worth at 817-885-8000 to schedule a free
consultation.

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