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(LA Times)   Massive car wreck looks like something out of a bad disaster movie   ( divider line
    More: Sad, disasters  
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23416 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Jan 2012 at 7:47 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-01-29 08:23:51 PM  
3 votes:
I was in a pile-up that was caused by a sudden snow burst. Visibility was bad and the road quickly became covered in slush. I was going slow already but when I came over a slight hill I saw that there were cars stopped on the highway. Even though I had about a quarter mile to stop I was still going at a good clip and about to smash into them. Fortunately I was able to steer the car up the side of a grassy embankment without hitting anyone.

After that it was a nightmare as cars that were going 60 or even 70 came up that same hill and started smashing into the wall of cars I had just missed myself. It was just a cacophony of crashes and honking and screaming. I was halfway sure a truck was going to come barreling out of the fog and come right at us. Fortunately, that didn't happen, but there many other cars flying up the same embankment all around me and my wife.

I saw one woman run from her vehicle across 4 lanes of traffic. She was so close to getting hit at one point. I'm pretty sure it would have been fatal considering the speed of the car and the fact she would have been run over by other cars. Luckily she got out of there OK.

I'm not sure what the best strategy is in a pile-up, but I told my wife to stay in the car and as the traffic was coming from behind us, I told her to keep her head against the back of her seat in case we got rear-ended. That was definitely the longest few minutes of my life, just waiting to for that truck to come roaring out of the fog.
Amazingly in the end we didn't even get a scratch on our car but we were stuck there for over an hour as the emergency crews tended to the injured and started clearing out the cars that were totaled. When we got home we watched the news about the pile ups. Apparently there were 3 others around the city that day and ours was actually one of the less severe ones.

For anyone who's curious, I would say that when weather is bad or there is limited visibility the best thing is to slow down. Put on your four-ways and don't hesitate to pull over if you think its getting dangerous. Speeding in bad weather/visibility situations is amazingly stupid as you are endangering your life and those around you. If you do get in a pile-up, stay calm and try not to make rash decisions. Sometimes staying put is a good idea as cars are designed to protect people. Of course, sometimes fleeing is better but don't just go running or you might end up like the lady who nearly got clipped. Wait and watch, have your path planned out.

TL;DR - snow, pile-up, super lucky, no damage, drive slow in snow, thank you
2012-01-29 08:09:29 PM  
2 votes:
Why am I not surprised the media blames the fog and smoke, but not the motorists driving too fast and following too closely for the conditions?
2012-01-29 06:56:20 PM  
2 votes:
Horrible pictures. Best wishes to all families involved.
2012-01-29 08:37:56 PM  
1 vote:

Man On Pink Corner: I guess I don't understand... if you are going so fast that you can't see a wall of smoke ahead in time to slow down for it, you're going too fast, right? If you can't see at all, even after you slow down, you should pull as far off the road as you can get and wait it out, right? Am I right, or am I missing an obvious driving strategy here?

A large part of the problem is differential slowing of the vehicles involved.

Looks a little hazy ahead, better ease up on the accelerator a bit, whoa, WTF? I can't see a damned thing! (Slow way down.)

Guy behind you slows, too, but not as much. BOOM.

Or, guy in front of you panics and slams on the brakes, rather than just easing up a bit. You can't see him; you ease up a bit. BANG!

It's really easy for a given number of cars on a given stretch of road to turn into a total clusterf*ck when they're suddenly stopping/slowing at different rates. Especially when any of them is a tractor-trailer rig.
2012-01-29 08:32:10 PM  
1 vote:

TwowheelinTim: Why am I not surprised the media blames the fog and smoke, but not the motorists driving too fast and following too closely for the conditions?

Why am I not surprised that some ignoramus is blaming "the media" for comments attributed to Florida state troopers?
2012-01-29 08:21:27 PM  
1 vote:
Why didn't the TSA prevent this terrible tragedy?
2012-01-29 08:14:05 PM  
1 vote:

Darth_Lukecash: A few years ago we had 230some pile up in southern California. Don't think anyone was hurt seriously.

Its kind of weird, I remember seeing the fog roll in like something out of a horror story, one minute it's clear, the next miuet you can't see for shiat: if you can't see for shiat- slow down or pull off the road.

Tule fog (new window) is a biatch. Driving along and every is clear, and then wham, zero visibility.
2012-01-29 07:56:51 PM  
1 vote:
"We just hit it, and you couldn't see anything," said Henry

That's the way they roll in Florida.
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